Wednesday, November 29, 2006
How to Keep Your Boat!
Returning from a paddling trip into the USA the other day, I got asked a bunch of questions by the Canadian Customs Agent for which I had no ready answers. Basically I was asked when and where I had bought my kayak, how I had imported it and whether all the relevant taxes had been paid on it. I did my best to explain the details of the kayak's purchase and importation and, somewhat reluctantly, he let back me into Canada with my kayak. It was a wake-up call. I needed to get some documentation to avoid this happening again. I want to keep my kayak!
The next day I returned to the Canadian Customs office and completed the little green card you see (poorly reproduced) in the picture on the left. This card, form #Y38, certifies that the kayak was properly imported, taxes were paid and so on. As long as I have this card, I ought to enjoy hassle-free border crossings...
Actually, I got lucky. I entered the Customs office to find a friend of mine behind the desk. He knows me and my boat so got me my card without much fuss. Without him, I would have had to provide the bill of sale, paper work from the Customs Broker and so on. Another break I got was having an alarm begin ringing while we were getting the card filled in. My friend, stamped the card, signed it and told me to fill out the rest on my own. "This is your boat, eh Mike?" he yelled as he rushed off to see what had caused the alarm.
I completed the card and drove off into a nearby field to let the 25 illegals out of the rear hatch and then headed down for another load.
I'm just kidding about that last part, but if you plan to cross the US-Canadian border at any point, I recommend having solid documentation for your boat and any other valuables if you intend on keeping them!