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  1. #1
    Commander magster65's Avatar
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    Default Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    I just brought a boat back so I thought I'd post what I had to do. I read a pile of conflicting advice online so here ya' go;
    The trailer is treated as a vehicle so you have to follow those guidelines which means you'll need the registration, title, bill of sale and a copy of the sales agreement if it was bought from a third party like a broker. All these documents have to be at a pre-determined crossing 72 hours before you and the vehicle arrive. Not all crossings process vehicles although some will allow boat trailers at their discretion (don't take a chance). There will also be a one time (non refundable) RIV fee of around $200 I think it is. Some potential problems can be avoided if you get a letter stating there's no liens or encumberances against the vehicle as well. If it's a car I'd also spend a bit of time and go through the vehicle with a vacuum... every nook and cranny to get rid of anything the previous owners may have left in there! The trailer (or car) will also have to have an inspection upon arrival in Canada (do it right away) and if it hasn't passed that inspection within 75 days it has to be sent back. Yep, you heard me.
    The boat is a different story. You need the bill of sale, the registration and a copy of the contract if sold by a broker... that's it! Take a couple photocopies just in case but I didn't need them. I went through it and cleaned it right up just in case and I did get a letter from the previous owner about the 'no liens' but they didn't ask for it. The title can be mailed at a later date... but we don't need it here, just the registration.
    A trailer/car/truck has to clear US customs on the way out but they don't care about boats... at all. Canada customs just wants the taxes (GST and PST) of course.
    We weren't more than a few minutes at the crossing.
    Cheers!
    Arrr matey!
    2002 3788 Bayliner "Motley Crew"
    Twin 270 Cummins

  2. #2
    Supreme Mariner oops!'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    thanks for that info magster.....

    thats a big help.
    like the tip about cleaning.....
    can u imagine what would happen IF.....????
    congrats on the new bote....

    oops

  3. #3
    Seaman manofprawnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    When I did this a year ago there was no need to send the trailers specs 72hrs in advance. I stopped at US customs on the way out and they said that unless it was a self propelled wheeled vehicle, they were not interested. Canada Tax, I mean Customs, processed it on the spot, just wanted the GST, once again being a trailer, no need to pay for or have the trailer inspected. Make sure your bills of sale are in order and you have proof of payment.

    As a Canadian you cannot operate a US licensed vessel in Canadian Waters:

    Once you get your new boat and trailer back home you will have to license your boat, now done by "Service Canada". My outlet only had 1 person who could do boats, could not book an appointment, so have to stand in line and hope she was in. After numerous visits and waits she would not process the applications until I could prove I cancelled registration in the states. I emailed in my case Washington State, they told me they did not do this. Even with email she would not process. Finally sent off an email to Washington stating that even though they did not cancel registration, please cancel mine, then had my lawyer Notorize (Spelling??) that I had done so. At that point she processed the form and gave me my new numbers.

    Next point: You will have to get a Canadian Capacity Plate if the boat does not have one. Easy process, just call the Safe Boating Office and they will send the paperwork package, think is was a $5 fee to process, sticker will arrive in about 1 month, in the mean time you will have a letter allowing you to operate the boat.

    Hope this helps, it seems like a lot of hoops to jump through, but it is worth it. Best to phone the Canada Customs you plan to cross at and see what process they wish you to follow,as things do not seem consistant.

  4. #4
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by oops! View Post
    thanks for that info magster.....

    thats a big help.
    like the tip about cleaning.....
    can u imagine what would happen IF.....????
    congrats on the new bote....

    oops
    Yes clean up is quite important if you're considering passing through a border crossing or airport. I once read of a local 84 yr old who was stopped after a drug sniffing dog identified her as a suspect....turns out she was wearing an old fanny pack she'd purchased at a flea market........ Yep you guessed it, it had once contained someones stash ?

  5. #5
    Petty Officer 1st Class HondaPower's Avatar
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    Manofprawnz thanks for the heads up on the Canadian capacity plate. I have an older 16 foot bass boat which originally came from the States. It has a USCG plate but no Canadian plate. Never thought much about it but will get that done now, good information, thanks.

  6. #6
    Commander magster65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    I just came back from registering/licensing mine. There has been no mention of the capacity plate yet (and I'm finished all the paperwork). I think this proves that manofprawnz is right... there's little consistancy.
    Cheers
    Arrr matey!
    2002 3788 Bayliner "Motley Crew"
    Twin 270 Cummins

  7. #7
    Commander Bigprairie1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    Magster, which point of crossing did you use...the peace arch? or? Do you have the contact info for that point of crossing?
    I am in the midst of probably getting a truck out of the U.S and have to do the 72 hour pre-crossing dance as well and I am going to start to look for the required phone/fax numbers to ensure the info (Bill of sale, title copy, recall letter, etc) gets to them in time.
    BP
    Big Prairie
    90' Capri- 90 Force
    Apparently....Newt Gingrich has several Pete Seeger records that he hasn't disclosed.

  8. #8
    Commander magster65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigprairie1 View Post
    Magster, which point of crossing did you use...the peace arch? or? Do you have the contact info for that point of crossing?
    I am in the midst of probably getting a truck out of the U.S and have to do the 72 hour pre-crossing dance as well and I am going to start to look for the required phone/fax numbers to ensure the info (Bill of sale, title copy, recall letter, etc) gets to them in time.
    BP
    I came across the Peace Arch with the boat but I think the autos have to go to the Blaine truck crossing. Here's the contact #'s;

    1 360 332 2632 US customs (call and get the email... very fast response)
    1 360 332 2639 US customs fax (to send your vehicle info to)
    1 800 333 0371 Transport Canada (just fyi)
    1 800 461 9999 Canada border services (they want your pst and gst)
    1 888 848 8240 Registrar of imported vehicles (they want $220 too)

    Good luck, it's worth the trouble!
    Arrr matey!
    2002 3788 Bayliner "Motley Crew"
    Twin 270 Cummins

  9. #9
    Cadet
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    Default Re: Importing a boat from the US to Canada

    Broughgt mine in last summer at Landsdowne Ont (1000 Islands). Really easy to do. First if you are taking more than $10k into US you have to declare at US Customs - not a problem though.

    Take a copy of your correspondence on the deal, for sale ad, etc so Can Customs can see you aren't giving them a false bill to avoid taxes.

    I got a letter from my insurance co stating the trailer was insured on my truck policywhile hooked to my vehicle and then got a temporary NY state transit permit that was good for 30 days - you can't tow it home on the sellers plate and you can't put a Canadian plate on it until it gets inspected by RIV.

    At the border on the way home - no need to even stop at US Customs -no 72 hour requirement at Can customs - although for cars trucks etc they follow that to the rule.
    Go to Canadian Customs - they will look at your bills and signed over registrations ( if they are applicable in the state you bought). They didn't even look at my boat or motor - but had to verify the VIN on the trailer - it was on a decal which was too faded to read, but the last 6 digits were engraved in the tongue - EZ Loader calls this an id number - I had been down and seen this little problem in advance and talked to Customs and they told me to get a letter from EZ-Loader that trailer with id xxxxxx was manufactured under VIN XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

    Paid my sales tax on the boat and trailer ( you can wait on the trailer and pay at time of registration, but I paid up front. Thirty minutes later I'm on my way.

    RIV - after coming in you get a letter in about a week telling you to go for inspection - Canadian Tire - guy wrote down tire size, looked to see if I had lites (didn't even check to see if they worked) and told me to spend $5 on stick on reflectors cause they don't use them in US - what a waste of $200. Then got my licence plate The NY transport permit was waht I used to haul the boat around until then

    Went to Serv Can and took five minutes to get my reg #s.

    Sent application for plate to Transport Can - they are backlogged about a year - you get a letter that says you have applied for the plate which you have to carry.

    Smooth sailing

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