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2021 Canadian border reopening

Authored by Jeff Wise
August 10, 2021

Does anyone have any current info on border crossing. After following all of the rules, getting the vaccine, getting tested, loading the new arrivecan app, A phone call confirmed that we could not cross into Sarnia. Closest point of entry was Trenton ont. On the east end of lake Ontario. No entry points in Lake Erie, huron or superior. Website which hasn't been updated in, I believe 18 months shows only 64 ports, none around here. 

    Please post any accurate first hand info.

      Jeff and Sandy.   "Northbound"


Hi Dave,

If you can, take Dave Spencer up on the offer to chat about cruising in the North Channel. As someone who has been up and down the east side of Lake Huron numerous times, I wouldn't recommend spending too much time stopping in the towns along the way. Or let the weather dictate your speed.

Bayfield is charming but be aware that the river current and traffic can make docking a bit tricky. Goderich is a nice town but a hike from the marina. Kincardine is a fun little town with some good restaurants. The have limited dockage for a boat your size so you would want to make sure they have room for you. Port Elgin is another alternative that we've used numerous times when the weather has turned. You can also anchor in Warner Bay, Irish Harbour, and Cove Island. Tobermory is fun to visit if you've not been there but expect a lot of tourist traffic. We usually skip Tobermory and go to Cove Island.

The North Channel deserves as much time as you've got - you could easily spend the entire summer there and you still would not see everything. This is where Dave can help give you guidance.

Have fun with your planning and have fun sailing the NC. 

Julie Thorndycraft

HR Editor


Hi Dave Spencer,

Much appreciation for the positive and encouraging words.  We have never been to the North Channel or Georgian Bay, and very much want to do so next summer. 

Thought is to stop in Goderich, Kincardine, and Tobermory for a couple of days each, then do the North Channel for a few days, and then head over to Petoskey and make other Michigan stops on the way home.  Happy to buddy-up with interested boats.  Thinking to leave in early June and return in early July, same as last year.   Timing is a combination of racing and work schedules.

Still working "from anywhere" and so there is a bit more scheduling involved than ideal, but we made it work well last year for a month on the Michigan side.

I have been perusing the Canadian-side harbor reports and plan to attend some of the winter seminars.




Hi Dave,

The short answer is that nobody knowns what the COVID situation and what the resultant border situation will be for the 2022 boating season.  However, if I were you, I would make plans assuming that crossing the border in both directions will not be onerous next summer.

I’m sure you know the Canadian border opened to non-essential traffic on August 9 and the American border opened on November 8.   However, as of today, the entry requirements to Canada are non-trivial in that all travellers must be fully vaccinated, use the ArriveCAN app and must have completed a molecular COVID test within 72 hours prior to entry.  I have no special insight but I don’t see the vaccination requirement or use of the ArriveCAN App changing anytime soon.  These are not onerous requirements.  However, the requirement for an expensive and hard to get pre-entry molecular test will likely be dropped shortly unless things suddenly get very bad in both countries.

Here’s the Government of Canada site you may want to watch.

And here is a similar site for the United States:

If I were you, I’d spend the winter dreaming and planning your cruise to Canada and adjust at the last minute if the COVID / border crossing situation deteriorates.

I see that your home port is Grosse Pointe.  If you haven’t been, I’d recommend heading to the North Channel and Georgian Bay next summer.  These are among the most popular and attractive cruising destinations on the Great Lakes.  The Harbour Reports are excellent and the GLCC School has several good cruising webinars on this area - full disclosure - I present a couple of the webinars.  :-)

I love talking about cruising this area and would be glad to chat with you about your cruising plans if you wish.


Dave Spencer

s/v Good Idea

Sat, 09/04/2021 - 00:36


Bottom line it was easy and easier than crossing into Canada.  They’re plainly open for business at least at the Blue Water Bridge so I would expect elsewhere too, especially given that CBP there has a reputation of being one of the toughest Canadian border crossings around here.  I called CBP (at the Bridge) first as advised in the Roam app. The officer advised that Roam is buggy in that a check-in doesn’t always get thru and they often have trouble processing it. (I already knew that from 2019.)  He advised further to call them back if there wasn’t a timely response. That was exactly how it went for me.  But it was no sweat because the officer who processed my entry was quite agreeable.  There was no video interview.  He simply told me I was all set after I gave him some information that I had already entered into Roam.  The Roam app seemed stuck so I closed it.  I got the expected email confirmation.  So now I’m home after 7 great weeks in the North Channel and Georgian Bay.


It was great to see someone was able to make a successful border crossing at Sault Ste Marie. However, make sure you know before you go. The US recently extended their Temporary Travel Restrictions to September 21, 2021, so be sure to call first. A nearby US CBP officer advised us "don't go."

Our boat berths in western Lake Erie just 15 miles from the border. We'd love to make a late summer trip to Pelee Island, but that is on hold until 2022.

Sat, 08/28/2021 - 13:06


Regarding returning to the USA using the CBP Roam app, there’s a warning when first opened that travel is restricted because it’s considered non-essential.  And to call the nearest port of entry for more information.  This warning has been there for a few weeks at least.  You can dismiss the warning screen and get into roam.  So I am wondering, did the successful Roam user call before using the app?


We met a couple (both US citizens from Michigan) a few days ago that crossed at Sault Ste Marie on August 9. They had used the ArriveCan app, had all of the necessary documents and had a Covid negative test within the required timeframe. They crossed over to Bondar, put up their quarantine flag and called the number listed at Bondar for the CBSA. The officers came down within 30 minutes, reviewed their documents for another 30 minutes and cleared them in.

They just crossed back into the US at Mackinac Island, entered the required information into the ROAM app and were granted re-entry within 3 minutes. 

I had asked them to keep me updated in regards to their return - sounds like it was quite easy. But then, we all know it depends upon where you are, who you get to review your information, etc.


I signed up at the arriveCAN apt, very confusing.  I know the covid vaccine in required, done, but unclear if a covid negative test is required.  It's all so very confusing.  Like Alan I've bought the DTOPS sticker last two years.  Until I hear from others have crossed without problems, will not go myself.  Just don't want to deal with it till they know what's going on.  Having said that still hope to do a short cruise to Port Dover late in the season.



From conversations, Our Opinion is that WAIT, UNTIL NEXT YEAR,!

Even though we have bought DTOPS stickers for the last 2 years, without being able to use them,

I would worry, after conversations with LEO, about our boat being seized or being fined.

To Us it is not worth it, Too many other places to go.

just MHO




For what it is worth --- Be sure to also talk to the US CBP about entry or re-entry into the US. My conversation with a CBP officer put on hold our plans to go visit our friends in Canada.  It will take a while for this to sort itself out.