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Boaters irked by new Alaska customs rules

A new director of Customs in Skagway, Alaska, is creating confusion for boat owners in Canada’s Yukon Territory because of new registration and reporting rules that don’t seem to be written anywhere.

The rules affect about 250 Yukoners who have bought and registered boats in Alaska and moor them in Skagway.

“We’re ready to go,” Yukon boater Bob Cameron said. “We all want to go, but what do we do? We’re a little bit scared to untie our boats.”

That’s because if the boater is Canadian, Skagway’s director of Customs and Border Services is requiring them to report where they’re going. They also must report by fax into any U.S. ports they visit.

For example, pleasure boaters now have to register with the Skagway office that they intend to boat to Haines, then report in at the office in Haines, then register an intent to continue on to Juneau and so on.

None of the rules appear in Customs' written requirements.

“I’m left with the feeling that we’re not wanted and some people have taken that very seriously,” Dave Muir said. “In fact, I know of a couple of boat owners that already have their boats up for sale. And if this continues I suspect that that certainly is going to be the trend and certainly will be for me.”

Click here for the full report by the Alaska Dispatch.

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