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TOPIC: I Guess I am Just a Dummy

I Guess I am Just a Dummy 16 Sep 2007 19:18 #1

  • mmichellich
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The last 3 or 4 years, I get chewed out by the Customs agent at Customs when returning with my boat from Canada each year because I had not prepaid my fees for my boat's Customs decal. So I decided to order it early for 2008. Boy I must be a real dummy. It took me several visits to the web site and many attempts to enter the data successfully. Finally successful, I think. Boy what a bunch of crap. I will not do this again and in 2009 and on will take the wrath of the customs agent and make him allow me to fill out his form and pay with a credit card when re-entering the US. I can order thousands of dollars of merchandise with about a tenth of the effort and confusion.

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Started boating 1965
Bayliners owned: 26 Victoria, 28 Bounty, 32, 38, and 47 since 1996

I Guess I am Just a Dummy 16 Sep 2007 19:31 #2

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mmichellich;69136 wrote: The last 3 or 4 years, I get chewed out by the Customs agent at Customs when returning with my boat from Canada each year because I had not prepaid my fees for my boat's Customs decal. .


I use the NEXUS program for reporting when re-entering the US. Prior to this year I used the I68 program. My experience has been - I call in and as part of the routine they ask for the decal number. If I don't have it, they ask for a credit card # and give me a decal # over the phone. No hassle. Maybe all this heighten security etc has made the agents a bit more testy.

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Joe
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I Guess I am Just a Dummy 16 Sep 2007 20:30 #3

  • dmcb
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I think you need to talk to a supervisor.
There is nothing wrong with buying it when you return.
The customs guy I delt with this year even expected it.
No hassle at all.
Its just a money grab anyway. 29.5 feet and you don't need one. What is the difference between that and 30'?
Doug

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Started boating 1955
Number of boats owned 32
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2755
2850
3870 presently owned
Favorite boat. Toss up. 46' Chris Craft, 3870 Bayliner

I Guess I am Just a Dummy 16 Sep 2007 22:35 #4

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don't feel bad ,I just renewed mine over the net and had trouble and I have been signed in before with a no. anyway I still had trouble but it did work after several tries, get a Nexus card and you can forget the vist to the customs office just call in up to 4 hours before arrival and you are done works the same way going into Canada no more waiting in line love it ,....Brad

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I Guess I am Just a Dummy 18 Sep 2007 19:14 #5

  • MerlinV
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Maybe I've been lucky in my experiences with the US Customs guys in the PNW. At Roche Harbor, and Point Roberts, they have always been friendly and easy to deal with, and we are certainly made to feel welcome. The first time through each year, I pay my decal fees by credit card, and recieve the decal number, with the actual decal arriving by mail within 14 days.

On the other hand, last year we re-entered Canada the Port of Sydney for the first time, and made the mistake of docking the boat without going directly to the Customs dock (We didn't even realize where it was, and were directed to a dock well away from it). Immediately after tying up, I grabbed our paperwork, and headed round on foot to clear customs. This was one of the rare days that officers were on hand, so rather than just pick up the direct phone, I asked if I should clear at the office. Understandably, they were mildly irritated that I docked directly, but I explained that this was our first visit to Port of Sydney and there was no intention to evade customs.

The officer then picked up the direct phone, and advised the headquarters people that I had evaded customs, and then handed the phone to me to finish clearing. They advised me that any further breach of the rules, and the boat would probably be siezed, resulting in multi-thousand dollar fines, and I now have a first strike on my Canada Customs record - WELCOME HOME!

I totally understand the need for security, particularly these days, and I also understand that everyone can have a bad day, but I felt that the attitudes that we encountered that day were unneccesary and unproductive.

ps. They didn't even search the boat.

Lesson Learned!

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Rob
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I Guess I am Just a Dummy 18 Sep 2007 21:06 #6

  • mmichellich
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We crossed the US/Canadian border 8 times this summer if I recall correctly. I only had two issues, rest of the time it was quick and pleasant. The one time getting chewed out again for not having my decal as stated above and the other when returning through Sumas, BC in our motorhome from Alaska trip. There we were given a complete search of our refer to determine if we had any illegal beef. When in their office they had 4 or 5 personnel assigned to USDA checking for illegal beef imports, at least that is what their badges stated. In our case they took a chunk of left over cooked meatloaf, two opened packages of beef jerky and one ziploc with two hamburger patties. All the rest of our beef was in it's original packaged in US wrapper and we had receipts for these purchased packages with us. We offered them for review but they said it was not necessary. This crossing of the border on a weekday took almost 4 hours. I sure hope these USDA folks do more than search for beef.

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Started boating 1965
Bayliners owned: 26 Victoria, 28 Bounty, 32, 38, and 47 since 1996

I Guess I am Just a Dummy 19 Sep 2007 00:56 #7

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We got an I68 last year and crossed several times back and forth and never had a problem. Both sides were courteous and nice on the telephone. Now the first time over going through Canadian Customs (spring) I ran into a real bully, his partner was embarrassed and apologized during the search of my truck when he was at the other end of the truck going through nothing of value. He (bully) kept telling me that I needed a list of what I was bringing into Canada. I told him that most of the stuff was bought in Canada and I was just bringing it back to open up our trailer. We take it home so that it doesn't freeze. He kept looking and threatened to impound my truck and put my dog in a pound (I had his papers too). I called Ottawa that next week and made a complaint. I have not seen him since and I cross every weekend.

Same thing happened four years ago on the U.S. side while I was living in Canada. I called the Watch Command and filed a complaint and informed him of what some of his staff was doing, e.g., taking peoples lunches and eating it in front of them because it had lettuce or salads in it. They took one of our nurses ID and dropped it outside of her car on the ground and the National Guard soldier (who happened to work with her in his civilian job) tried to pick it up for her and was yelled at by the Customs officer to let her get out of the car and pick it up. On that one I called both of our Senators and asked for a hearing. She was a Canadian and didn't want to make waves but the people who lost their lunches were Americans married to Canadians and living in Canada. They did want a hearing and filled complaints. The Watch commander told me that he was aware of the problems and they were investigating them.

99% of the time I never have a problem and cross, as said before, just about every weekend from April until November and then a lot for skiing during the winter. Yet, we all work with people who are just not cut out for the job but there is no way to get rid of them. I guess it is just human nature. If you feel that you were treated unfairly you need to complain to their superiors. What’s the worse that could happen during the winter; you could end up in Cuba where it is nice and warm….your family may not know where you are but you will be fed and have clothing. I think you can see the ocean too…:D

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I Guess I am Just a Dummy 19 Sep 2007 02:17 #8

  • Bradvo
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This was the first year my wife and I had not called in to enter the US. We had friends from Texas with us and decided to make a night cruise to get an early start instead of getting our I-68's the following morning, knowing at the end we would have to do the dreaded customs office at Roche.

Crossing into Canada we entered Bedwell and was selected to be boarded. Not to bad but I was sweating a few items I had not disclosed. After what seemed like 10-15 minutes we were given clearance.

2 weeks later we came into US customs at Roche. I expected to be boarded and asked about the beef etc etc.
Weird, they asked less questions then when I had called in to get clearance. They never left the office, never even brougt up beef.
I think the guy was more interested if I was in anyway related to another boater who's vessel was called "Kids Tuition" , funny.
I told him I knew of that guy but it was wise to keep your distance and for certain you should check em out if he comes by again.:kidding

I already had my decal so no money exchange.
Pretty darn smooth , and all the agents were in a very joking mood.
They also told me they were being encouraged to get boaters to get the Nexus or I-68.

My 2 bits was I thought they should make the Nexus easier to get. I live in Tacoma, a major port. But have to go to Seattle or Blaine to get one.
Tacoma just does not get any respect:confused:

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I Guess I am Just a Dummy 19 Sep 2007 02:58 #9

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My return was as smooth as silk.
They also talked about the Nexus card. They said we would not need a passport if we had the Nexus card.
Sounded good.
However getting one as Brad said isn't easy.
Have to get the paperwork together, then make an appointment in Sault Ste Marie.
No problem there except:
Can't get it done before we leave here this fall.
Only a 2 week or so window in the spring before we leave. No garantee we can get an appointment during that time.
And it isn't good for Mexico so we will still need passports.
He said it would be good unless we went abroad but checking on the net, that isn't so.
So I guess we will get passports and just show up at a customs entry point the one time we return.
Doug

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Started boating 1955
Number of boats owned 32
Bayliners
2655
2755
2850
3870 presently owned
Favorite boat. Toss up. 46' Chris Craft, 3870 Bayliner

I Guess I am Just a Dummy 21 Sep 2007 12:38 #10

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Somehow I think that everyone within the U.S. Custom’s office that screws up gets sent to the Tijauna Mexico border, those that screw up at that location are sent to Detroit. I have never met a bigger bunch of jerks in my entire life. The Canadian agents on the Windsor side are great and heading over to Amersburg, Ontario for dinner and a beer at Duffy’s has always been a very pleasant experience. But getting back into the U.S. is so bad that almost nobody calls in.

They have no idea what to do about the I68 form, no idea what do about the decal and if they want, they can make you head all the way up to Detroit to clear. This is absolutely crazy. It is a 400 yard straight line shot from my fathers house to the Canadian border. I have crossed the border about 2,000+ times since birth and to those that are native to the area look at the U.S. Customs agents as the embodiment of all things negative in our great land.

To make matters worse, the charted and designated water-ski area has the actual border going right through the middle of it. For every lap around the water-ski course, you cross the border twice. After a day of skiing you might have crossed the border at least 30 to 50+ times.

A very good friend of ours was transiting from Grosse Ile, Michigan to Put-In-Pay, Ohio for a long weekend out on the boat. The best way to do this is to head out to the Detroit River Light House, then pull up a straight shot course to Put-In-Bay. Doing this will take you over the Canadian border in the middle of Lake Erie for a total distance of about two miles. When he crossed back over after his “transgression” into “foreign” waters he was intercepted by a Helicopter and two high speed counter drug U.S. Customs boats. They put him in cuffs in the middle of Lake Erie for failing to clear customs. They then ransacked his boat (an immaculate 42’ Chris Craft) and threatened to drill holes in the bulkhead to inspect what was behind them. All because he clipped the corner of the open water border. WTF. After they let him go, he placed a call to his Congressmen. I suppose it is a good to be a very wealthy businessman with really strong political ties. But even a long term and powerful U.S. Congressmen could not get resolution on this and they continue their never ending policy of harassment. I have many, many, many more first had accounts but I can’t rant forever.

I went home to visit my father last summer and took out the runabout and came across the Canadian Coat Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs, and Wayne County Sheriffs Department all rafted off together eating Pizza. Well why not! Perhaps they are building international relations and they left me along for the day.

All in all, I loath the U.S. Customs agents in the Detroit area. I truly wish they would be sent to Iraq to take care of their borders. Perhaps we would then get some agents that actually take pride in their job and present themselves as the first line ambassadors of the United States.

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Erik
PATRIOT 1986 - 3270
Chesapeake Bay – Western Shore
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