The Governor General of Canada has signed into law an agreement that will ease the restrictions on any U.S. boater that crosses any shared border water.
Gov. General David Johnston signed into law a bill drafted by Canadian Sen. Bob Runciman that is a declaration of an easement between maybe the two most familiar border neighbors on earth.
Syracuse outdoors said:
"Under the new law, American boaters who do not anchor their boat or step foot on Canadian soil will not have to report to Canadian Customs."
A great idea that, unfortunately, didn't come without a bit of controversy.
It all began in 2011 when a (then) 22-year-old Baldwinsville, NY resident, Roy Andersen was fishing the Gananoque Narrows on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River. Andersen, who was more than familiar with the Thousand Islands region was fishing with a friend at the time and both men had valid Canadian fishing licenses. To that end, their boat met all water and safety requirements.
The judgment: two Canadian Border Officers boarded Andersen's boat and seized it.
The Canadians then told the boater to immediately pay a $1,000 fine or risk having his boat towed to the Canadian side and pay $25,000 in penalties.
For Pete's sake fellas, did we beat you in hockey that year? (sorry, that was back in the Olympics)
Now obviously the border agents were just doing their jobs and enforcing the existing laws (with a little too much fervor) but the knowledge of the incident would spread around the famed St. Lawrence River region causing many boaters and anglers to stay away from Canadian waters.
And keep their US dollars with them.
After that Canadian officials adopted a strict policy of enforcing what it was that they required US citizens to do upon crossing into Canadian waters: call Canadian customs at 1-888-CAN PASS and have a valid US passport, birth certificate or an enhanced driver's license on their person. (anyone with a DWI, drug charges, or firearms violations on their record may not enter Canada)
In an obvious turn, Canadian lawmakers have now eased the restrictions for US boaters and anglers. Since the two countries are close neighbors and partners, it goes without saying that this is a normal step towards making our two nations a little friendlier for the many sportsmen that love to visit in both directions.
As House of Commons member Gordon Brown said,
"This legislation will end the confusion and ensure that Canada treats U.S. boaters the same way the Americans treat Canadian boaters"
Cover photo via You Tube