Boating Bill Would End Customs Check-Ins

Boating Bill Would End Customs Check-Ins

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Jeff Garnsey owns and operates Classic Island Cruises in Clayton. He provides guided tours and fishing trips on the St. Lawrence River.

But Garnsey says he's been restricted to staying on the American side of the river because of what he has to go through when he crosses into Canadian waters.

"They could either check in by phone or they could make you port in, say, Gananoque the nearest Canadian Customs office and your boat would be searched, your passengers would be searched and it got to be so invasive," he said.

But there's a boating bill in the Canadian government that could change that.

The bill would allow Americans to cross over into Canadian waters without "checking in" with customs.

The same would go for Canadians who leave and make their way back on the Canadian side. But it's just restricted to cruising on the water.

If a boat lands, anchors, or makes contact with another boat outside of Canada, then you have to check in with customs. Still, this new bill is a big improvement to boating on the river.

Canadian Senator Bob Runciman, who represents the Thousand Islands region, is the one who introduced the bill.

In a statement, he said, "This is great news for boaters and for the tourism industry of border communities across Canada."

Garnsey couldn't agree more.

"I've lost fishing customers so I probably walk away from $5,000 or $6,000 a season just on the border issue," he said.

This boating bill has already passed through Canada's Senate and House of Commons. The last step is Royal Assent, which makes that bill into a law.

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