Taking canoe into Canada?

I am going to the Montreal area for work next week and I’m close enough to drive. I am debating bringing my solo canoe to do some paddling after work.

What requirements does Canada have that I should be aware of regarding bringing in a US canoe? Is it practical to take my canoe with me last minute?

I’d (obviously) bring my Type III PFD, whistle, mirror, lights, and a back up paddle. Does Canada require anything above and beyond that? I wouldnt be in the wilderness at all, just 5-10 mile out and back evening trips.


No problems
I have crossed the US/Canadian borders with both US-made and Canadian-made (purchased in Canada) canoes with no serious questions or issues (duty-related questions related to Canadian purchased boat on US re-entry, though). Add bow and stern floating lines and bailing bucket to your equipment list for Ontario and you’re good to go.


not a problem

– Last Updated: Jul-15-16 1:58 PM EST –

I've taken my kayak from the US into Canada several times (most recently last August) and there are no restrictions in either direction (unless you are bringing in a new boat which you bought in the other country or are planning to sell it while there, which is clearly not your case.)

I was with friends on vacation in Ontario once and they bought a canoe there. They declared the purchase at US Customs when we crossed back over the border, but the senior customs official waived any tariff because (he said) we had been using it up there so it was now a "used" boat. But I know he was just being nice to us because his underlings had detained and harassed us for over 4 hours after claiming to have found a marijuana seed in the seat track of our car (a vintage Jaguar which my friends had bought 3 weeks earlier.) He chastised his agents for being overzealous (and for failing to check the "false positive" warnings on a new drug testing kit that they claimed had identified my one friend's prescription allergy tablets as "amphetamines"). I think it helped that he was also a canoeist.

Most likely the only comment you will get from the border agents is a cheerful question about where you are planning to or have paddled.

Here is a link to questions about Canadian boating policies. ONly motor powered craft require their "Pleasure Craft Operator Card". Kayaks and canoes are exempt.


We took two kayaks into and through
Canada and paddled in Canada and didn’t have any problems.

Jack L

Be sure you have proof you brought it in with you, I think there is a form for that. That will avoid possible problems getting it out. Leaving it dirty can help it look used up there. Problems and delays at the border along with launching and camping permits in Canada have caused me to canoe camp exclusively in the ADKs now which is about the same distance. It’s a shame, but the ADKs is a big place and I’m satisfied.


15M Line
My understanding is that you must have 15 meters of floating tow line with you.

My wife is from Nova Scotia and we drive up there just about every year. This year we are taking 2 kayaks with us rather than renting them, so I’m very interested in this thread.

Yes 15 meters floating line
A whistle a bailer capable of scooping 750 ml at a time and a white light if night paddling. A headlamp is fine

I’ve done some 100 Canadian Canoe trips and if your canoe is too new looking proof of ownership is nice going over. You may be asked if the canoe will be left in Canada but this may only happen if you have done so in the past (as I have) taxes must ergo be paid

Just be honest and answe what they ask you. Nothing more

Coming home the US only cares if it might have been made outside the NAFTA area your boat likely already shows country of origin and that would be North Anerica so there is no duty even if you HAD bought it in Canada. I’ve done that too

In the end crossing with a canoe is not a hassle at all

Good info guys, Thanks for the help! Look like I’ll bring my boat!