Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Canadian Border Service Agency will review the boat seizures of two Niagara County residents who traveled to Port Dahlousie, Ontario during the summer.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Monday the agency will allow an appeal from Randy S. Hook of Lockport and Gerald S. Daniel of Burt. In August the two were visiting Port Dahlousie, a popular lake side community in Ontario, just north of St. Catharines and west of Niagara Falls. Both families had sailed there on their respective boats.
Both vessels, along with the Jet Ski operated by the Hooks, were seized by Canadian Border Services Agency officers. The families were required to pay a $1,000 fine per vessel to get them back and, in addition, they lost their Nexus passes.
Officers determined that both the Hook and Daniel families had failed to report their presence. However, both families had called in to report their presence, as Hook called within 17 minutes of dropping anchor. Schumer said both families have visited Port Dahlousie for over 10 years and made a good faith effort to comply with Canadian law. Schumer sent a letter to Luc Portelance, president of the Canada Border Services Agency, asking for the review.
Schumer said the appeal is an important step towards what he believes must be a two-pronged resolution: Canada Border Services Agency should investigate the specific treatment and costly boat seizure for Hook and Daniel, then the agency must provide clear and readily available guidance in terms of the expectations and obligations of American boaters more generally. Schumer noted in his letter that without clear guidance, American boaters might be in violation of Canadian law without any knowledge or any illegal intent.
“I’m pleased that our neighbors across the border have heeded my call and will provide an appeal opportunity to the Hook and Daniel families, Niagara County residents that experienced a costly boat seizure while enjoying Port Dahlousie this summer,” Schumer said in a release. “In addition to this investigation, I urge the Canada Border Services Agency to immediately clarify their maritime border policies for New York boaters so that incidents like this, during which the Hook and Daniel families called authorities to lawfully report their vessels, but were instead slapped with $3,000 in fines, do no repeat themselves. CBSA must more clearly communicate the duties and expectations of Americans boating near the border, and provide clear warnings in incidents with first-time offenders in those situations. “
Schumer repeated that both families had attempted multiple times and through various means to report their presence within minutes of entering Canadian waters. The western New York residents have visited Port Dahlousie for over 10 years and made a good faith effort to comply with Canadian law, the senator said.
According to the CBSA, those who cross over into Canada via boat must call the NEXUS Telephone Reporting Centre at 1 866-99-NEXUS. Advance notice must given to the CBSA at least 30 minutes and up to four hours prior to arriving in Canada. The boat master must provide the following information:
• an estimated time of arrival
• the name and location of the landing site of arrival
• the registration number and name of the boat
• the full name, date of birth and country of citizenship and permanent residence status of all NEXUS members on board
• the destination, purpose of the trip and length of stay in Canada for each passenger and
• the passport and visa details of passengers when applicable or required
• all passengers must have photo identification or needed travel documents
• declare all goods being imported, including currency information
When travelling with persons who are not Nexus members:
• For arrivals in Canada, the boat must arrive at a marine telephone reporting site and the boat master must immediately call the Telephone Reporting Centre at 1-888-226-7277. Only the boat master may leave the boat until authorization is given by the CBSA.