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Last updated by System administrator
January 23, 2021



Hello: thought I’d pass along some info that would be of interest to any boaters, especially those that hail from Lake Michigan or Northern Lake Huron, expecting to cross into Canada’s North Channel.


Currently a large majority of CBSA ports where a private vessel can clear customs remain closed. In all of Ontario only 29 reporting sites are “open”. Anyone entering Canada must report their arrival at an “open” site. Unfortunately there are no such reporting sites anywhere in the area on the North Channel. The closest site where one could report is Sarnia. Nexus is not available.


Boaters should be aware of this for there are very serious penalties for crossing into Canada and pulling into a port that once may have been operational and expecting to clear there.


I am Canadian and store my trawler at Drummond Island Yacht Haven so I have been looking into this and have confirmed with both US and Canadian border officers. Have been trying to make as many folks as possible aware of the situation in hopes that we could prompt CBSA to at least provide one open site in the area. Sault Ste Marie would be an obvious choice. Please help to get the word out and if anyone has influence or connections that might help to remedy the situation please reach out.


Thank you,

Allan Smith


Mel - The Remote Area Border Crossing Permit was heavily used on Lake Superior pre-COVID. I'm not sure it ever applied to the other lakes, but since there were so few Canadian customs stations on Lake Superior this allowed one to "pre-clear" via an internet application and a modest fee (I think $25) paid via credit card. I believe they wanted a copy of your passport information too, I can't remember but before we went down to the Caribbean we used a RABC permit almost every year. Most Lake Superior cruising boaters going to Canada used it extensively.

Joann - It seems to me that Lake Superior is in tough shape regarding entry into Canada unless it's done through the Sault, as last I looked there were NO places to clear into Canada on Lake Superior except at Sault St. Marie. What are these people thinking??? 


Currently there are 86 points of entry across Canada for non-Canadian citizens boaters. Unfortunately there are none on Lake Superior, only one on Lake Huron (Sarnia) but there are quite a few on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  I checked to see if Sault Ste. Marie would be open this year as it wasn't last year. Unknown at this time. Please see the links above as well as (sort under the Provence column to get all the Ontario ports together).



According to the CBSA website, entry into Canada by boat is permitted but only for fully vaccinated travellers. However, not all marine entry points are currently open. Refer to this webpage for more information.

ArriveCan is mandatory for ALL travelers entering Canada. Travellers arriving by marine mode are required to submit their mandatory information including their proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN before or when entering Canada.

Download the app here:

Fri, 05/06/2022 - 21:45


I have no idea what a RABC permit is.  Have you looked into the ArriveCAN app?  It shows options for crossing by car, plane, and BOAT.  That aside it’s the only way to get into Canada by any means.  We are in Port Huron (happy headquarters of the GLCC).  We use this App without issue including last year when as Americans with Canadian citizenship and passports too we cruised Canada for the whole summer.  From what I understand this year we need to land first at Sarnia and clear customs there.  Pre-pandemic we would call CanPass upon arrival in Kincardine.  I don’t know how many entry points they have with the app.  Hopefully they’ll quit this soon and get back to common sense normal again.



After applying for a RABC permit I was informed that, as of May 6, 2022 no permits are being issued and the only allowable entry into Canada is by land border crossing.  According to the border protection officer I spoke with, non-Canadian cruisers are not allowed to land anywhere on the  Canadian shore. I asked the question in several different ways and got the same answer - non-Canadian vessels are not permitted to enter Canadian ports but non-Canadian citizens can enter Canada via land entry points.  If anyone has further information I would appreciate hearing from you.