Crossing the Border - Not as complicated as it seems..

By: Janet Smith Staples

Volume 17, Issue 6, June 2022

[Editor's Note:  This article was published in the June issue of RIVERTALK, the newsletter published by the Thousand Islands Association (TIA) which is a nonprofit founded on the River in 1934 with their shoal marking program. This new online publication provides the latest boating safety and environment information for members - so we highly recommend that you join this month to ensure you too get this news.]

USA into Canada

1) The ArriveCAN App must be filled out whether you are crossing by boat, land or air. It is available for free from the App Store on your phone. You will be asked to create an account using email and password. Save this info because you will use the same account each time you cross the border into Canada. If you are filling out online via Computer  go to: ArriveCAN -

2) The App was co-created by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and has gone through many iterations and updates - so be sure your have the most updated version.

3) You will need to have a Passport or Nexus as well as proof of vaccination.

ArriveCAN can be filled out minutes before you cross but not longer than three days before departure into Canada. Exact time of crossing is only approximate.

4) Under "Reason for Travel" section use what best suits your situation. If you are going for the day to shop or visit a restaurant simple click on "Other."

5) Crossing by boat - if you wish to cross by boat, click on "See list of marine ports of entry" choose either NEXUS/MARINE Port of Entry OR Telephone reporting site to see the correct list of acceptable ports of entry. Note: smaller sites that were closed during Covid have been updated as of May 20th, and most have reopened.

Please note for now, if you cross by boat, you will have to tie up at Port of Entry (calling 30 minutes before-hand is no longer accepted regardless of Nexus status)

Once everything has been answered and filled in, select SUBMIT. You will receive an alphanumeric code and/or QR code which is also sent to your email.

If your plans change and you no longer wish to cross, you simply log back in and cancel your trip. If you get it wrong or want to add a passenger cancel the trip and start again or have the added person fill in their own ArriveCAN account.

Canada in the USA

Wish to enter the United states by BOAT? Download the ROAM app and fill it in accordingly. There are no longer video phones in Clayton or Alexandria Bay. If a Customs Agent wishes to speak with you, they will Facetime you. This too, is an easy process and should be filled out prior to crossing and landing in the United States.

PORT of CALL for NY State: Port of Entry | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (

CBP Reporting information: CBP Reporting Offsite Arrival – Mobile (ROAM) | U.S. Customs and Border Protection

By Janet Smith Staples

Janet Smith Staples has spent every summer on the River. Some mariners may remember when she sold ice as a teenager to anchored boats and then had summer jobs as a coffee girl at the Golden Apple or a deck hand on the Gananoque Boat Line. Today she and her family live in Clayton NY. and she serves on the board of the Thousand Islands Association.

Editor's note: Vested interest! This editor was on the Board of TIA, back in the covered wagon days.  Also, I am well aware of their good works as the author of this article is my daughter, Janet! Over the years TIA has always been there for me as I ply the Canadian waters (going way too fast) and in the US through TIA's support of Save the River's Shoal Marking program. It never ceases to amaze me how many boaters seem to think these shoal markers appear by magic or some government agency takes care of them . . .  but in reality, it is our memberships that keep our River safe.  

Posted in: Volume 17, Issue 6, June 2022, News article

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