Boats to Canada

Has anyone ever brought new boats to Canada? Is it a difficult process? Paperwork?

Any input you have would be helpful.


are you canadian?
i live in north carolina and am a US citizen, but paddle in Canada every year … sometimes for months at a time. i’ve brought kayaks and canoes into canada for the past 30 without ever having a problem. never been asked for “paperwork” except for once in awhile concerning my dog. getting back out is always more of a problem than getting in. the US czars are officious, unfriendly, uncourtious, unkind, not cheerful, and may not be reverant. i cannot attest to their being thrifty.

if your canadian, your results may differ however. dunno.

not Canadian
The boats are new and would be going one way to NFLD.

I had my P&H Capella and my
Sirius brought in. I live in Newfoundland and never had a problem. Although I have heard of problems more related to shipping of drysuits. Strange. But in my expierence, not a hitch.

What boat are you trying to bring in?

Proof of ownership
I suspect that a boat registration sticker gets your boat through customs with the least amount of hassels. If your state does not require a visible boat registration sticker on it, I think you should carry a copy of your purchase invoice or some other proof of ownership when crossing the border in either direction.

US Customs

I’ve never had a problem with US Customs (I’m a US citizen). I’ve always found the agents pleasant.

I suspect that what you want to do, buy a boat in the US and take it back home to Canada is, officially, requires paying duty. The problem you had with shipping dry suits is related to the obviousness of the boarder crossing (it’s easy to detect and monitor shipping).

If it looks like you went on a trip in the US and brought your own boats from Canada, you’ll probably get away with bringing the boats in. I suspect that you are required to prove prior ownership, but I suspect almost no one is able to do this with boats.

other direction
How about a US citizen heading north with boats that are still shiny?

Border Crossing
Hi Suzanne,

I cross the border all the time with my boats (as you know) and they have only asked me once if they were mine. I said yes and that was the end of the story. I don’t think that you will have any problem at all crossing. As for them being shiny the only people who know that they should be scratched and repaired are kayakers, and I don’t think there are many kayakers on the border…


If they’re U.S. or Canadian-made
then they’re probably covered by NAFTA and duty-free. If not, you may have to pay. My experience has been that the Canadian border folks are generally pleasant but routinely ask whether you’re bringing anything with you that’s going to stay in Canada. (That’s crossing from Washington into B.C.–I have no experience farther east.) If I were you, I’d go prepared with documentation as to what you paid for the boats and where they were made, and I’d look for a Canada customs website for more information.

Boats of N. American manufacture are covered by NAFTA so there is no duty. There may be other legalities depending on whether boats are for personal use or resale, etc.

Remember to take…
any tags off the boat that would make it look like it’s for resale. I once had to leave a bunch of tech manuals at the border, they were coming back out with me but I would have had to pay duty on them because they had a price printed on them.

no duty but…
I went to Maine and purchased Old Towns from the factory both this year and last, both canoes and kayaks, and brought them back to New Brunswick.

The above statements are true, there is no duty on them. However, what they will do is take the bill of sale that you have and change the amounts from US to Canadian funds and then charge you 15% tax on them. If the value of the boats are $1,000, for arguments sake, they will change it to $1,200 Cdn, and you pay 15% on that amount.

But, if you have lived in the States for a while and are moving back, or just going for a visit, there is no reason to believe that you are not taking them back with you when you return. I did’nt read your first statement very carefully, but that is the way I understood it.

As well, the way it used to work is the longer you stayed in the States, the more $ amount you could bring back, but check it out.

Re: Duty - Yes
Hi, just bought a new Impex Assateague from Oak Orchard in Waterport,NY. When declaring at border, I made sure to have the clerk at the store write it up on a split invoice and declared 1,000.00 only. Sorry, but the Canadian government gets too much in the way of my tax dollars, so I had to minimize the burden. They charged me 150.00 duty PST and GST because I am a Canadian. You would need to stay one month or longer in the US to avoid declaration as I understand you can bring back 500 duty free per week out of the country.

My 2 cents.

PS the Assateague is awesome and well worth the commute to pay less in US dollars. !

shiny boats
I cross the border a few times each year (about ten) and usually with a boat. Occasionally its shiny. The only question I have been asked in the past few years if its for resale in Canada. The most worrisome for me (and the worry was unfounded) was when I was one and I had three boats on a trailer!

If you have recently purchased a boat the bill of sale would be wise.

My state doesntrequire registration. Thank goodness. With 14 boats I couldnt afford to buy another.

Have to tell those who compained about the behavior of Customs Officers that something must have been changed in training. Now I think that you catch more flies with honey approach has been implemented. I encoutered the most affable friendly and chatty US Customs Agent at Derby Line VT/Stanstead QC. I am SURE there was a reason for being SO sociable. Except he was a canoeist, hmm

thanks for advice!
Plans fell through but thanks for the advice! I will most likely end up going next year.

Duty applies if
the item is not made within NAFTA. If the boat was made in the US, no duty applies, but the sales tax does…I was considering a kayak purchase in the US and called CRS for the info.

With the price of gas these days, not sure we’d save a lot of $$$ making the trip


Ottawa ON