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The Port Sidney Marina
is located just
six miles from the Canada/USA border
in the heart of
the Canadian Gulf Islands and the US San Juan Islands


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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, citizenship
    Passport, visa, NEXUS, FAST card, EDL/EIC, or Certificate of Indian Status
    Any other documentation required for pets or personal property.

  • Boat Information

    Cassiopeia X is the boat's registered name. 

    Registration document and Radio License

    Paper copies of the registration and radio license are in the nav station. 

    Electronic copies are available below.

    • Registration Document --  827879 (Vancouver)

    • Radio License  -- Call Sign: CFN6497     

    • MMSI: 316024573

    • Boat length: 11.98 metres

    • Dinghy licence and papers are not required for Cassiopeia's dinghy

      • Outboard serial number:  046351XD

      • Dinghy serial number: XW1A1006G304

  • 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 decisions.

- Home | Greeting | Features | Specs | Video | Marina | Cruising | Adventures -
- Forward Cabin | Saloon | Aft Cabins | Sails | Cockpit | Enclosure | On deck -
 - Plotter and Radar | Marine Head | Refue
lling | Seacocks| Engine | Batteries | Dinghy | Anchoring -
- Inventory | Manuals | US/Canada Border | Winter | Thoughts | Troubleshooting -