Monday, October 4, 2010

Clearing Customs and Immigration: USA Improves, Canada Loses Bigtime

2010 10 01
New Bedford, MASS

Clearing into the USA by boat has improved immeasurably since only a year ago.  Canada on the other hand has been lead back to medieval times by our Fascist Monarch and his gun totin' god fearin' pack of backwoods lunatics in the Reformed conservative party. 

Who to Call

CBP in the United States is cleaning up their act, in New England at least.  To enter the US from a foreign port you call a single number for the entire North East.

The number is (207) 532-2131.  You want to choose extension 255 when asked. 

That connects you with a CBP guy in Houlton Maine.  He makes all the arrangements for you with the local CBP inspectors.

When to Call

It is good to call about an hour before you make landfall in the US.

Now so far as the CBP is concerned in New England, "landfall" means tying up to a dock or facility from which you can disembark or rafting to another vessel.  If all you are doing is anchoring while enroute to a destination where you intend to clear you have not made landfall.

This is different from Canada where the dropping of an anchor constitutes landfall.

Daily Position Reports

CBP have lowered the boom on position reporting for pleasure boats.  You must report your arrival at each port or place in the USA to the designated CBP officer at the nearest port of entry.  This is the wording on your Cruising Licence and it is unequivocal.  The Officer who inspected Meredith drew our attention to the text and highlighted it in yellow on our Cruising Licence.

Here is what it says verbatim: 

Upon arrival at each port or place in the United States, the master shall report the fact of arrival to the designated Customs and Border Protection Officer at the nearest port of entry.  Such report shall be made immediately upon arrival.

This wording was not on our last Cruising Licence issued in 2009 but was on the Cruising Licence we were issued in 2008.

Not much wiggle room is there.   The only clarification that the officer made with us was that anchoring did not constitute arrival.  If we anchored while enroute we had not arrived and so long as we did not disembark or raft to another vessel we did not have to report.

The New England CBP guys know what they are doing.  They know boats and boating.  We are not at all certain that as we move south we will not encounter a good deal of ignorance about the rules or their application.  Not all branches of CBP are equally experienced or as well trained as the guy who cleared us in.  We have learned to expect all manner of trouble with the KGB of the water. 

Reporting Phone Number

CBP have an 800 number you can call. 

1 (800) 973-2867

An operator answers and when you tell him you want to make a pleasure boat position report he will ask where you are and connect you to the proper office.  This is easy.  So easy you almost do not notice that big brother has you squarely in his sights.

According to CPB New Bedford MA if you are only anchoring you do not need to report.  A position report is only required when you are affixed to land or raft up to another vessel.  If you are enroute and stay on your boat you do not need to call with your intermediate stops. 

Procedure on Reporting Arrival

Tell the operator you want to make a pleasure boat position report and where you are.  The operator will connect you to the local office of CBP.  When you make your report expect to provide your cruising licence number, Nexus Boaters Registration Numbers, Passport Numbers, and then provide full details of everyone on board.

When you have completed your report get the name and badge number or employee number of the person who took it and record it in your log.  If the person refuses to give the number explain why you need it - for the official log.  If he continues to be intransigent record your reportage anyway and the fact the officer refused to identify himself. 

We have never had an officer refuse to give name and employee number.

Canada's Descent Into the Eighth Ring of Hell - Led by His Royal Highness the Fascist King

King Stephen our fascist monarch, having received 5 million votes from the 35 million Canadian people, has seen fit to duplicate the worst excesses of the American CBP system at the Canadian Border.  If you doubt it I refer you to this news article from the Halifax Chronical Herald which was forwarded to me by our very good American friend Dave Johnson.  Dave is a real character and much loved aboard Meredith.

The link to the article is as follows:

Border guards, border bullies: a sailor’s ugly story

 Trashing the boat of unsuspecting and compliant as possible foreign sailors?  What the hell are we creating.

Thousands of complaints about the conduct of Canada's CBP agents and not a single one was valid.  Not one.  Who the hell thinks this stuff up.

With no provocation whatsoever these CBP thugs, representatives of our government, trashed an innocent man's boat and threatened worse.  I may call the US CBP a variant of the KGB but it seems we have installed an aqueous Gestapo. 

While we were in Halifax I looked up Dan Leger, the reporter who wrote the article, and had a long and disturbing talk with him about the current state of CBP in Nova Scotia.  

Our dictator for life has armed our border guards. 

Think about what kind of person wants to be a border guard.  Border guards are just toll booth operators, little better than security guards.  No one says as a little boy "When I grow up I want to be a border guard".   People take these jobs out of necessity.  A nice paycheque,  clean working conditions, good benefits.  Then we turn them into bureaucrats and then we give them guns.

When we arrived in Yarmouth  NS the CBP sent the harbour master out to our boat to demand we immediately present ourselves to clear in.  The possibility that we were Canadians in a Canadian port and had never left Canada never occured to this thick skulled bunch.

We told the harbourmaster, a very nice man, that we would ignore CBP and why.  We arranged for a dock with him and told him we would be moving to tie up in about an hour if CBP wanted to discuss it further.

Now our great fascist leader has given them guns and told them they are immune to the consequences. 

They believe him.  It is a bureaucrat's dreamland.  All the power and absolutely no responsibility. 

Get ready.

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