U.S. boater fined, removed from Vancouver Island under Quarantine Act
VICTORIA -- An American vessel was removed from B.C. waters and the operator was served $2,000 in fines for failing to report their arrival to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
The ship was discovered near Ucluelet and directed to return home on Monday by the CBSA and RCMP after the two agencies were notified of the vessel by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all non-essential travel is currently restricted in Canada. Non-essential travel includes sightseeing, touring or pleasure fishing, according to the CBSA.
“This case is a good reminder to all boaters: You cannot cross the (Canada-U.S.) border for discretionary reasons,” said the CBSA Pacific Region in a Tweet Thursday.
“Due to COVID-19, travel restrictions remain in place.”
The CBSA declined to say how many people were aboard the vessel, what their reason was for being in Canadian waters or whether the vessel docked in Canada.
Meanwhile, travellers arriving in Canada for essential visits must still self-isolate for 14 days.
While seafaring vessels are prohibited from docking in Canada for non-essential trips, boats are allowed to travel through Canadian waters so long as they take the most direct and uninterrupted route possible.
Vessels are allowed to stop in Canada for essential reasons, like refueling or picking up essential supplies.
Earlier this summer, an NFL team owner’s superyacht raised eyebrows in B.C. after the $250-million vessel was seen travelling in the Johnstone Strait between mainland B.C. and Vancouver Island.
In July, two U.S. boaters were fined for visiting B.C. while claiming to be travelling to Alaska.
Later that month, the federal government said it was cracking down on the “Alaska loophole” and stricter measures for U.S. travellers heading to the northern state were put in place.
Americans hoping to go to Alaska now have a set amount of time to get there and must use the most direct route. The CBSA also assigns travellers with tags that must be placed on their rear-view mirror that lists their destination and the amount of time they have to get there.
“These enhanced measures will ensure those travelling to Alaska take the fastest route possible, with minimal contact in communities that are working hard to contain COVID-19,” said B.C. Premier John Horgan in a statement on July 30. “If we remember to be calm and be kind, we will all be safe.”
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Penny Daflos