US Customs and Border Patrol Boarding (Soo Area)

Bonnie Dahl - June 11, 2009

On Sunday, 7 June 2009 we had an interesting experience as we were leaving Superior's Whitefish Bay and entering the St. Marys River. We had just cleared Gros Cap Light when we were quickly overtaken by a very official boat from behind with blue flashing lights. We were approached broadside and hailed in no uncertain terms, "We are boarding you" and more quickly than you could blink an eye, two officers were on board. They were US Customs and Border Patrol - not the Coast Guard. This was a first for us as we have been boarded a couple of times before by the Coast Guard (when coming back from the Bahamas), but never these fellows. They quickly informed us that it was a routine border inspection. The first thing they wanted was identification: passports and drivers license (which were called in) and then boat papers: documentation and state license. Then they went below to inspect the boat: wanted to see the bilge, head and all areas (Ron says they were looking for extra people). All in all we have to say they were very professional and efficient - and yes, very nice and well-mannered. It was a little unnerving at first to be approached and boarded so quickly, but after we were into the process it all went very smoothly. It helped alot that we had all of our information (passports, boat papers etc.) gathered beforehand and organized into a binder ready to go. Later when we talked with some people in the Soo we were told that the Border Patrol has stepped up its' attention and inspections and that boaters can expect increased patrolling and boarding this season in the Soo area.

Gros Cap Light...



Bonnie Dahl's picture

In answer to Mike Kohut's "comment" question: we were not coming down from Canada. We were coming from Whitefish Point - had been heading out of Lake Superior along the south/Michigan shore. Again we would like to state: we were told it was a "routine boarding".

mikekohut's picture


Were you coming in from Canada or just coming down from Whitefish Point?