I would like to underscore your recommendation that U.S. boaters in Canadian waters post their customs clearance number in a side window (Waggoner Cruising Guide, 2008, p. 16).

Coast Guard boat

We have seen increased vigilance over the last few years in northern B.C. waters. Customs officers can be seen walking the docks at Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club checking windows for a clearance number. Several years ago an RCMP vessel did a high-speed circle around us just south of Prince Rupert looking for the number in the window; we later learned that same vessel boarded a friend’s anchored boat in nearby Baker Inlet because their number was not posted.

Last summer we had a first in southern B.C. waters. This vessel came screaming up to us just below Dodd Narrows in the Gulf Islands. We looked at each other and said, “OK, here comes a boarding.”

However, they veered off suddenly when they saw what they were looking for. The clearance number in the window.

clearance number

We have a little suction cup hook in each helm window. Slipping the paper on it is fast, easy, and avoids tape residue on the window.

Linda Lewis and Dave Parker
M/V Royal Sounder


When we clear Canada Customs we make up two papers with the clearance number and post them in both the starboard and port side windows. We also record the number in the log book. We write the numbers with a black Sharpie pen, so they are easily read from a distance.

—Bob Hale

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