Taking kayaks and kayak trailer into Canada

Covid restrictions are easing soon. Plan to vacation in Canada this summer for a couple of weeks. Plan to bring our camper van and kayak trailer along with 2 kayaks on the trailer. The van and trailer has current tags. What’s needed if anything to enter Canada and back into the states in regards to the kayaks and trailer? Any info I have found on this site is dated over 10 years ago. Anything found online pertains to buying or selling which were not. Just want to go kayaking in Canada.

Btw here in Florida, kayaks not need to be registered. Don’t even think they have serial numbers. Bought them 10 plus years ago. Cash.

There’s even an app for that: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/arrivecan.html

A FWIW edit: the last time we crossed the border to Canada (pre-Covid) we were asked where we were going and how long we were staying and that was that. On the return trip the U.S. Border Patrol agents held us up for 30 minutes as they searched our car, luggage, etc.

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Michigan also does not require canoe/kayak registration. Your kayaks should have a Hull Identification Number (HIN) though. Probably rear port side but might be elsewhere. That said, I have never had a question about canoes or kayaks going from Michigan to Ontario and back. Interactions have tended to be as @Rookie says although we haven’t had the full search. Coming back from 2 weeks on the Missinaibi in 2009 the US Customs agent asked, after he had gone through the usual, " Did you buy a lottery ticket today". We were apparently randomly selected to park, go inside to be mildly questioned while they had the dogs check out our car.


I’ve done it a bunch of times, and it’s never been a problem. They’re used to lots of kayaks coming up. Make sure you bring a passport for the way home, though. Going into Canada is no problem, but coming back into the US requires a passport. I’m sure you already know that, but the kayaks have never been an issue for me.

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We do every year…Or did till 2020. Never an issue. You do not need registration of boats. Just make sure you fill out the Arrive Can paperwork ahead of time and the Covid screening if still applicable.

Should be no problem with the kayaks. Just be sure that the trailer registration and tags are current and lights are functional.

I took my kayak on car top to Canada last year after the COVID quarantine was lifted. No issue whatsoever with the boat.

I had to use arrivecan and sweated a bit as it required not just vax proof but a negative COVID test less than 48 hours old, and the test instructions said it could be 3 days to get the results. I had to hand all that to customs to enter.

I had a REAL ID driver’s license instead of a passport.

One other thing to add (not specific to paddling) is that you must have minimum $200,000 combined single limit third party liability insurance coverage to drive in Canada ($500,000 in Nova Scotia). US minimum limits are often much lower than this.

Tell your insurer you need a Canadian Interprovincial Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card (what we call a “pink card” here in Canada, though it isn’t always pink anymore) - if your insurer will give you one, you either already have high enough limits or your limits will increase automatically when you enter Canada.

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I thought my to-do list was pretty complete. And you just pointed out something I hadn’t thought of.


I have the coverage. Just need to make sure my evidence is in the glovebox and up to date.

Good point!

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That CIMVL card is no longer required. What IS required is proof that you have insurance that will cover you in Canada.

You should contact your insurer to make sure that a) your insurance actually is recognized in Canada and 2) your limits are appropriate

Otherwise you risk having your vehicle impounded.

I’ve driven into Canada dozens of times over the decades and have never been asked about insurance.

you won’t be until you are involved in a collision. Not the best time to find out you aren’t insured.

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I was hassled a little last year returning to US from CA. I had a shotgun with me and the border agent asked to see my Form 4457, which I didn’t have. I showed him the CA form I filed to enter CA with a shotgun and no problem. We had two boats on top of the van - he didn’t ask about those, just the shotgun.

I do plan to stop at US customs this year on my way to Canada, to complete the form - it is a “registration for personal effects taken abroad” - I will list my boat and shotgun on it this time.

if you don’t have an invoice to prove you purchased your boats prior to entering canada, there is no way you can prove that you didn’t buy the boats in Canada - the form provides that proof.

This was the only time I was ever asked for the 4457, but it seems to me to be a good idea to get it filled out so that there is no question. see CPB Form 4457