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US Immigration: Boaters — beware not to cross Canada-US border

Recreational boaters might be unaware of the consequences of crossing into the waters of the United States. With all border crossings prohibited right now, boaters could face hefty fines if they crossed the water boundaries that form the border between Canada and the United States. Boat owners in British Columbia would be wise to be familiar with U.S. immigration laws related to crossing the water borderline.

The temporary ban on all optional or discretionary travel between Canada and the United States that was ordered on March 21 will be in place until June 21. This warning comes as a reminder for boaters who want to make the most of the warmer weather. Recreational boating is considered nonessential travel, which is currently prohibited. This includes touring, pleasure fishing and sightseeing trips on inland or coastal waters.

Crossing boundary waters at this time may lead to severe penalties. This includes crossing the territorial boundary to refuel the boat. Other potential penalties include the seizure of the vessel and even criminal charges. The same restrictions apply for both directions of travel. Although boaters may navigate international waters if necessary, the proper steps must be taken before crossing the U.S.-Canada border.

British Columbia residents are advised to consult with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer before travelling across the border, whether by boat or otherwise. Anyone facing charges for inadvertently crossing the water boundary into U.S. waters can utilize the skills of a lawyer registered on both sides of the border. Legal counsel can advocate for the client in any ensuing legal proceedings.