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CBSA to allow appeal of private U.S. boat seizure on Lake Ontario

Port Dahlousie

The Canadian Border Services Agency will allow two U.S. boat owners to appeal the seizure of their boats in Port Dahlousie in August, but a U.S. senator is still pressing for clearer rules on notifications for U.S. boaters in the Canadian waters of Lake Ontario.

The Canadian agency seized two boats and a jet ski from American boaters on the lake in August, and imposed $3,000 in fines on the owners for not reporting their crossing into Canada.

Lake Ontario is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the south by New York state. Pleasure boaters from both countries regularly cross the international border on recreational watercraft.

According to reports in August, Canadian border patrol officers determined that both the Hook and Daniel families had failed to report their presence in Canadian waters when they visited the popular lake resort. However, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) had said both families attempted multiple times and through various means to report their presence within minutes of entering Canada.

Ultimately, both of the families’ boats and a Jet Ski were seized and they were required to pay a $1,000 fine per vessel to get them back. In addition, the families had their NEXUS passes confiscated, according to Schumer, adding that the western New York residents have visited Port Dahlousie for over ten years and made a good faith effort to comply with Canadian law.

After the incident, Schumer urged CBSA to investigate how it might clarify rules and expectations placed on American boaters.

Schumer said on Sept. 17 that the president of the CBSA would offer an appeal to Randy Hook and Gerald Daniel for their boat seizure.

Moving forward, Schumer said on Sept. 17, that while offering an appeal is important in this instance, CBSA should also make clear the broader expectations of those boating near the Canadian border, including the need to report presence at ports of entry, whether boats are anchored or otherwise on shore.

Schumer noted in his August letter to CBSA that without clear guidance, American boaters might be in violation of Canadian law without any knowledge or any illegal intent.

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