U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers encourage U.S. boaters to enroll in and use the Small Vessel Reporting System to expedite the entry process. The online reporting tool is a voluntary program and is open to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents, Canadian citizens, Canadian landed commonwealth residents and Canadian landed immigrants who are nationals of a Visa Waiver Program country and have a valid passport and an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), or hold a U.S. visa for admittance, a valid passport, and a CBP Form I-94.
Boat owners and passengers can fill out an online application on the CBP web site and schedule a visit to an enrollment center near them to apply to the program. There is no fee and members of a CBP Trusted Traveler Program (e.g. NEXUS or Global Entry) or who hold a current form I-68 can enroll without visiting in person.
Once enrolled, boat owners file a small vessel reporting float plan prior to their departure if the trip begins in the U.S., or prior to their entry into the U.S. if the trip begins foreign. Upon arrival in the U.S., boat masters can then call CBP at the closest port of entry with the float plan identification number received when the plan was filed, answer a few questions pertinent to their arrival and receive clearance to enter the U.S.
For more information, visit the Pleasure Boats section of the CBP web site.