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Skagway boating rules eased

Yukoners sailing out of Skagway's port should have no more problems with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Yukoners sailing out of Skagway’s port should have no more problems with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Frank Falcon, a spokesman from CBP’s San Francisco office, clarified the rules around Canadian boat owners with vessels in Skagway in a release this week.

“Before the 2013 boating season, CBP introduced procedures with the intent of expediting the admission process for vessels of recreational boaters. While these procedures were meant to provide a convenience, CBP has re-evaluated past methods and concluded that the reporting procedures should mirror previous practices, as it is in the best interest of boat owners,” the release reads.

When called for comment, Falcon refused to elaborate beyond the statement.

Skagway harbourmaster Matt O’Boyle said as far as he can tell, the decision means it’s back to business as usual.

“Everything’s going back to basically the way that it was. Boaters will still have to get a cruising permit, but they can do that at CBP Skagway,” O’Boyle said.

In the past, CBP issued consecutive cruising licences for foreign boaters, but earlier this spring CBP officer Mary Nagy said that boaters would have to leave U.S. waters every year to get a new cruising permit. For Yukoners with boats too big to be hauled up to the Canada-U.S. land border seven kilometres outside of Skagway, that would mean sailing down to Prince Rupert.

But O’Boyle said that won’t be necessary anymore, and that all Canadian boaters should be able to get the cruising licences they need at the CBP office in Skagway.