Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race - Customs and Border Protection



(updated 17 April 2017 - applies to 2019)

  • U.S. laws and regulations require that ALL private boats arriving from a foreign port or place MUST report to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection IMMEDIATELY upon their arrival into the United States.

  • Every person must be seen in person for immigration purposes, except those participating in the 1-68 “Canadian Border Boat Landing Program”. However, holders of form 1-68 are still required to report their arrival into the U.S. to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

  • Masters and Passengers must provide proof of citizenship or legal immigration status, and be in possession of a valid passport and visa if required.

  • Citizens of countries that are participants in .the Visa Waiver Program are not eligible to seek admission to the U.S. under that program via private vessel and must obtain a valid visa before entering the U.S.

  • Once your boat is anchored or tied, you are considered to have entered the U.S. No one may leave the vessel until Customs and Border Protection grants permission. The only exception to this requirement is to report your arrival to Customs and Border Protection.

  • Mariners arriving in the greater Gloucester/Marblehead area must report their arrival to Customs and Border Protection at: (207) 532-2131 X 255 : HOULTON MAINE (CASC)

  • Officers from the Beverly Customs and Border Protection office (978-921-0782) will conduct inspections.

  • Failure to comply with these requirements could result in serious criminal and civil penalties, including seizure of the vessel.

  • Private Vessel Entrance & Clearance Requirements
    • Foreign Flag Vessel Arriving Without a Cruising License or User Fee Decal

      Formal entrance is required. CBP form 1300 and I-418 must be filled out by the master of the vessel and will have to pay an entrance fee ($19) and an exit fee ($19) upon arriving in Marblehead and prior to departure. For vessels over 100 tons, the fee is $37. (Please note this must be paid in US$ and in cash or by a check drawn on a U.S. Bank Account)

      After completing formal entry, the master can obtain a cruising license from the Beverly Customs and Border Protection office (978-921-0782).

      Foreign Flag Vessel Arriving With a Cruising License

      No formal entrance is required. A $19 clearance fee will be collected prior to departure. Upon arrival into every U.S. port, master must call CASC at 1-207-532-2131 ext. 255 to report arrival.

      Foreign Flag Vessel Arriving With a User Fee Decal

      Formal entrance and clearance required (CBP form 1300 and I-418 for entrance and CBP form 1300 for clearance). No fees collected.

      U.S. and Canadian Flag Private Vessels also have the option of participating in the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS).

      Vessels Participating in SVRS

      All crew/passengers must register and be approved. Master will file a float plan prior to arrival in the US and phone-in arrival to CASC (1-207-532-2131 ext. 255) to provide them with their float plan number. CBP will make a decision to board or waive boarding.

      Vessels Not Participating in SVRS

      Master will phone-in arrival to CASC (1-207-532-2131 ext. 255) and provide them will all vessel, crew, and passenger information. CBP boarding may be required.

  • General Information
      1. Like other Government agencies, budgets are currently constrained so CBP officers will most likely only be able to come to the BYC during normal business hours (8 am to 4 pm, Mon.-Fri.). Visitors are urged to check in at the Houlton, Maine, telephone number (see above) when within range of the U.S. coastline with the name of their vessel, its flag (nation), its captain and crew (including their current, valid passport numbers).

      2. U.S. vessels returning to the U.S. after the race should also check in via the same telephone number when within range of the coastline regardless of where along the coast they expect first make port.

      3. U.S. vessels must get a User Fee decal via the internet prior to the race. Those in need of a user fee decal should visit to place an order.

  • Advice for Visitors to Halifax
    • As veterans of the Marblehead race will know, every yacht arriving at RNSYS after finishing will be directed to come alongside in a holding area where it must remain with all crew onboard until cleared by officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency. One representative of the yacht, usually the skipper, will be asked to proceed ashore with passports and relevant documentation to the temporary CBSA office close to the holding area where officials will examine the documentation and, if all goes well, clear the yacht and all members of the crew into Canada.

      Although not a frequent occurrence, information available to CBSA officials after previous races has given rise to the need for additional questioning of individual crewmembers. In rare circumstances, non-Canadian crew have been denied entry into the country. Reasons for denial are many but a common one is a prior conviction for offences such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or narcotics possession. With a view to facilitating each yacht’s clearance, it is recommended that skippers and crew alike have a look at the information provided in the links below to determine if there might be difficulty on arrival and, if that is the case, how that difficulty might be avoided by early action before arriving in Canada.

      See and click on ‘Can I enter Canada?’ for useful information on why some individuals might be denied entry.

      Should an individual believe there might be cause to deny entry, see for information on how those difficulties might be addressed prior to leaving one’s country of origin.

      More information for individuals and boat owners entering the country is available at the CBSA website (, the Citizenship & Immigration Canada website (, and at the following sites:

      Some boats like to send a van with delivery sails or other equipment for the return trip.  Passage through the Canadian border will be a lot smoother if the Temporary Admission Permit E29B has been filled out in advance.  This form can be found at:

      Speak to the CBSA agents at RNSYS about cancelling this form when you transfer the items to the boat. For an even smoother entry, hire a customs broker at your entry point into Canada.