Sidney is the ideal jumping
off point for visiting either the Gulf or San Juan Islands, as either
can be reached easily and safely from Sidney without crossing large
expanses of open water. The islands in both groups offer marine
and land based parks, towns and marinas and hiking enough to entertain
any sailor for a long time. Wildlife abounds. Seals, dolphins,
whales, and sea lions are regular companions on a cruise.
Since the border is so close
and divides the islands, for cruising in the vicinity of Sidney some
advance understanding of the border regulations and procedures of both
countries is helpful.
The rules are quite simple
and easy to follow. Some useful information as of spring 2013
is reproduced below from government websites. Note, however, that
the regulations are subject to change at any time, with or without notice.
Generally, border crossing
is simple and easy if the rules are followed. However failure
to comply with the rules can result in significant delay, inconvenience
and expense or even confiscation and detention. If in doubt, phone the
port in question before you go and confirm you have the necessary documents
and meet any requirements regarding citizenship and visas.
In particular, the captain
should ensure before departure -- especially for non-Canadians and non-Americans
-- that all aboard meet the ID and visa requirements of both countries.
The captain should also ensure that no one brings contraband items aboard
and be aware of criminal records or other such issues that might
result in refused entry.
If you are reading this in
the weeks before your charter, the easiest thing to do is to plan your
itinerary, then phone the appropriate number in the USA and ask what
to do and then phone the appropriate Canadian number and ask what to
do on returning to Canada.
Have the following
ready on your arrival in either country:
Pleasure Craft Operator Card or
equivalent for helmsman
Number of persons on board and for each person on board:
Name, date of birth,
Passport, visa, NEXUS, FAST card, EDL/EIC, or Certificate of Indian Status
Any other documentation required for pets or personal
Cassiopeia X is the boat's registered
Registration document and Radio License
Paper copies of the registration and
radio license are in the nav station.
Electronic copies are available below.
Document -- 827879
-- Call Sign: CFN6497
Boat length: 11.98 metres
Dinghy licence and papers are not
required for Cassiopeia's dinghy
Value of any declarable merchandise
Amount of cash if over $10,000
First marina or dock at which you arrived
or will be arriving
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While the information provided here
is believed to be correct at time of publication, errors are possible
and things may change, so readers should verify details before making important