CBSA reopens small vessel reporting sites, local boaters say it should have happened sooner

As a member of the Sun Parlor Boat Club in LaSalle, Ontario, where boats of all sizes are set up along the Detroit River, Sam Zlotnik says one of his favorite activities is touring the United States by boat. navigable.

“We’ve been to the United States a bit. We like a lot of ports there. There’s probably 10 to one of what we have here in that area. So we’re using that shipping,” he said. . “It’s a social thing. It’s about fun.”

That fun was cut short after the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) closed nearly all of its small vessel reporting sites in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving only two open in Windsor. -Essex.

This meant boaters leaving Canadian waters could only return to Windsor-Essex via Lakeview Park Marina in Tecumseh and Scudders Marina on Pelee Island.

But on Friday, the CBSA announced the reopening of most small vessel reporting sites in Canada, allowing 26 more in Windsor-Essex to welcome boaters from the United States.

“All boaters are delighted with it. But it should never have happened anyway,” Zlotnik said. “With the rules they put together, it was almost like non-boaters were making decisions for boaters. They didn’t understand the impact on that area, let alone the safety issues.”

Those safety concerns, he said, are behind the cancellation of a weekend in Detroit, Michigan. Along with 29 other boaters, the plan was to get their vessels to the United States all at once. But with the closest Canadian entry point being Lakeview Park Marina, Zlotnik decided the process of 30 boats trying to check in at once was unsafe.

“It’s not like on a road where you can queue and wait. You’re floating in the harbor there. If you put 30 boats there, something terrible is going to happen sooner or later,” he said. he declared.

Opposite the Sun Parlor Boat Club are the offices of Holiday Harbor Marina.

Manager Brianna Laking, who estimated restrictions on reporting sites added about “three and a half hours” for boaters who left her marina, entered the United States and then attempted to return, said the rules could not have been relaxed at a better time.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Americans can come and enjoy some of the events that we host, like the blessing of the fleet underway [next week]”, Laking said. “It’s so much better when there are more people from the United States. Especially with the support of the yacht club, they always go back and forth.”

But for other marinas, the CBSA move comes a bit too late.

“It’s a great summer ahead for all boaters,” said Walter Argent, vice commodore of the LaSalle Mariners Yacht Club. The only thing is that for our Shakedown Race we had to cancel it because we had to give them 10 days notice.”

“It’s just the timing. We would have liked them to do this around the first week of May, at a minimum, so everyone can plan their sailing and racing schedules for the season.”

According to the CBSA, the only small vessel reporting site that will remain closed in Windsor-Essex is at West Dock on Pelee Island.

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