i fished the BFL's last year as a co-angler. i had one but none of the boaters i fished with had it.. most did not even know about it.. we fished in canada each event..the one thing i learned is it is not issued when the country goes to HIGH ALERT status.. the first time we went to the bridge last year to get them they turned us down
With my luck, I think I'll get one this year. Last year, I kept running into the Orange Alert thing.
Better safe than sorry I say. I've been out once on the Detroit River and already saw the Border Patrol 4 times! I can't believe they didn't stop to check my citizenship or anything.
It's cheap insurance. I buy all kinds of other insurance, most of which costs a lot more.
I've seen indications that there is still some contradiction in what anglers are being told. That probably won't change. If I see solid proof that it's unnecessary, then I might skip it. I just haven't seen that yet.
QUOTE(djkimmel @ Apr 5 2004, 12:42 AM)I've been out once on the Detroit River and already saw the Border Patrol 4 times! I can't believe they didn't stop to check my citizenship or anything.
You don't fit the "profile"..
..most Terrorists don't have Red hair and a crap eatin' grin!!!
I was out on the Detroit river on 3/27/04, I was traveling back to US thru the Hole in the Wall and was stopped by a US Border patrol boat. They asked what I was doing in Canadian Water, I stated fishing, they checked over the boat and sent me on my way. They never asked to see the I 68 form (I don't have a valid one) and I never brought it up. It took them a total of 10 minutes of my time. They treated me fine.
Mac - I fit some kind of profile (I've always thought the Richie Cunningham) because I've had some of the weirdest things happen to me and various law enforcement officers/agencies. Around fishing alone, I'm up to about 8 close encounters of the weird kind with them. I may write a book.
At Christmas I got pulled over by Officer Small Town for "crossing the fog line twice causing a suspicion of drunk driving" which is hilarious since I almost never drink anything alcohol and am pretty sure (my wife and one of my coworkers - who had been drinking - following me corraborate) I did not cross any line, let alone the 'fog' line. I think he just picked me because of the time of night and the affluent neighborhood and made up an excuse.
The best part is all the drinkers that left about the same time I did were going around me as he grilled me about the Coke and cup of coffee I'd drank. I basically played decoy for all of the others (and most are ungrateful about it).
Dowd - that's about the first time one of us has actually had this happen. Very interesting. I'm sure you were very polite and courteous and got them in a good mood.
Mini - I'm just nervous about my own luck and the inconsistencies. I always make the mistake of calling several different ones and usually get several different versions. I'm anxious the same will happen on the water. I do always try to be courteous (although sometimes my general anxiety level due to my past experiences makes them think I may be guilty of something
I'll have to call around again this year and 'test the water' before I make up my mind. I'll post what I hear here... unless guys would rather just not hear about it. I can understand that.
I made many calls to the Border Patrol/INS/Canadian Customs on this subject and as far as I can tell it is not necessary to have an I-68 if you do not land in Canada. The question is whether or not anchoring constitutes landing. Well, after talking personally with a Randy Labataille of Canadian Customs and several US Customs/INS agents as far as I can tell, anchoring in Canadian water does not constitute "landing in Canada" and therefore an I-68 is not required to return to US water. However, I have purchased one because as one of the Border Patrol Agents that I talked to said if there is a question about whether or not you landed in Canada and you have an I-68 it is just "show and go". I guess it is a case of better safe than sorry. The I-68 is only $16 annually and is for non-commercial pleasure craft only. The NEXUS porgram which is good for 5 years is $50 and is valid for both boat and vehicular crossings.
All this talk about the I-68 made me get a bug up my butt. So I had some free time today. With Passport and photos in hand I am on my way.
Ok here goes.
First off. DO NOT GO TO THE TUNNEL!!!!!!
Did you hear me! DO NOT GO TO THE TUNNEL!!!!!!
Two years ago I went to the tunnel and processed my I-68 without a hitch. Very painless and quick.
Last year I called and they said don't bother. The alert level was up and they were not issueing them.
So you know I didn't have one last year.
Today I go back to the tunnel.
The immigration officer asks me if I am coming from Canada. No I said, I am American.
He proceeds to tell me I have to be coming from Canada.
I am looking at him like he is crazy. Before I can even respond I am singled out by Customs officers.
Apparently there is no more legal parking at the tunnel. I parked in a customs inspection zone. (unmarked)
I am informed that next time I park and leave my vehicle it will be impounded and guns will be drawn!
Me; "Can I park at the bridge?"
Them; "We don't know."
Me; "Is there an office not on a boarder?"
Them; "Yes Jefferson and Mt. Elliot."
Me; "Do they issue I-68s there?"
Them; "Probably not."
I was happy to get out of there with my a$$.
The immigration officer tells me on the way out.
Just go across to Canada and on your way back in stop at immigration and we will help you.
When I was safely in my vehicle and well on my way (miles) I rolled down my window and said, KMA.
So two things I now know.
I will not be getting an I-68 this year and DO NOT GO TO THE TUNNEL!!!!!!
I went to the Immagration office at the ferry crossing in Algonac. I walked in with my 3 1x1 pictures, birth certificate, drivers license and credit card (they don't accept cash) and walked out 10 minutes later with a new I-68.
I've haven't had trouble obtaining one at the Ambassador bridge the past couple of years.
I'll try this again for those who have not bothered to read prior posts or thoroughly read the US Customs website regarding this matter. The I-68 has nothing to do with "landing" in Canada. "Landing" in Canada is a Canadian Customs issue. The I-68 program was introduced to make it EASIER for boaters who routinely cross the border into Canada and then come back into the US with the intention of landing in the US. If you cross the border, and intend to land in the US you are supposed to report to US Customs. The I-68 form permits you to go back to the ramp without having to report to Customs. It's that simple.
If you cross the border, do not report to US Customs, and do not have this form, you are in violation of the law. It's up to each individual whether they will comply, but please don't rationalize your desire to not bother getting the form. Does anyone really think that the "I talked to an INS officer on the phone and he said..." defense will really work in a court if property does get confiscated? Would that officer choose to testify that he or she made that claim?
The chance of being stopped seems very small. I do not choose to play that lottery. I will get the form. The cost in time and money is tiny compared to the expenses I incur trying to catch a fish or two.
Also, if you think about it, why would the law require that you "land" in Canada before needing an I-68? Wouldn't it be just as easy to transfer illegal cargo from boat to boat on the water?
I'm starting to like the Algonac idea if they are there times when I could be there. cameraguy, let me know about the bridge. That worked for us a couple years ago, but even then they acted suspiscious when we walked towards to office door through the inspection area. Maybe they think we get into the office through osmosis only?
I'm mainly want to get one for a little peace of mind in case I get stopped and in case the person who stops me has had a bad day or thinks I'm the bass boat he saw parked next to the shack on some deserted stretch of Canuck shore.
A member of this board got a letter from Customs last year claiming his boat was seen landing in Canada, but they had no record of him checking back in with US Customs that day. Even that seems like large odds, yet it happened and who knows what ball that gets rolling. Maybe none? Maybe stealth helicopters now follow him. (I wonder if they tell me his spots...? Well, that's another thread.)
I have experience with law enforcement helicopters while fishing. It ain't pretty.
I won't tell guys they have to get it or anything. I'll just say whether I get it or not and why. Everyone can decide for themselves whether it seems worth it or not.
Cameraguy - You are correct when you say that the I-68 form is for returning to the US having been out of the U.S. However, the point of contention here is whether or not crossing an imaginary line and then back whilst traveling in a pleasure boat constitutes entering Canada and requires the use of an I-68 to return to the U.S. The following is straight from Canadian Customs (I visited them while on an OCUNS trip to CANADA). You are NOT required to call Canadian Customs and report to them if you do not land at on Canadian soil. If you are just motoring or anchored without leaving your vessel, reporting is NOT required (pleasure boating only). Now, according to the U.S. Customs/INS folks I spoke with, If it is not necessary to report to Canadian Customs then in the eyes of the U.S. law you have not technically entered Canada and an I-68 or any other form of reporting to the U.S. Customs is not required. So, when you say "If you cross the border, do not report to US Customs, and do not have this form, you are in violation of the law." in my opinion (after many hours of research on the subject) I believe that you are not totally correct.. I have also confirmed this with the 2 INS folks at the Algonac office when I went there to purchase my I-68. With all the above being said I still think it is very cheap insurance to have the form. I am definitely not recommending that folks do not get the form and am just saying that it is acceptable to cross the imaginary border line or anchor and fish without violating any law and therefore the form would not be required.
Note to djkimmel - The 2 agents at the Algonac office told me that they are open from 5:30 am until 10:00 pm 7 days a week. (I went there around 8:30 pm and it took only about 10 minutes to get everything completed.) The office is located at the ferry crossing in Algonac just north of the riverside park on the river side of the road.
Maybe if you weren't shooting firecrackers on the Grand River, then the helicopters cops would leave you alone (GUILTY! GUILTY!). Maybe you should have pulled out your I-68 to show the cops during the gas station incident too.
You may be right, but that still doesn't help me with the hit-and-run my boat incident, the water pouring out of my boat all over the highway incident, the confiscate the trailer - figuring-out-how-to-get-your-boat-home-is-your-problem incident, the "do you know what powerloading is?" incident, the rear-end my new outboard at the Customs Booth incident, the little pickup hitting the horse right in front of me on the way to a tournament and then getting chewed out by the police officer for trying to keep other people from running into the horse (I failed several times) incident, AND 2 deputies arguing over the law incidents. I know I'm forgetting something.
I definitely don't want to add 'the international' incident to the whole thing. If I ended up in Canadian prison, I know you couldn't afford to bail me out... even in Canadian dollars (unless they take cheese and crackers now).
Hey, there were guys talking about you on another board and they were actually saying nice things. Thought you might want to know.