Some of the rules surrounding the ongoing Canada-U.S. border closure appear to be fluid. Canadian tour boats have been entering United States waters, and it's upsetting Americans who run similar tours. They claim they haven't had the same privilege.
David Kay, owner of Clayton Island Tours in Clayton, New York, told CBC News that he thinks it's an "unfair advantage" that he is not allowed to enter Canadian waters, even though he sees tour boats from Canada crossing the border on a regular basis.
Editor's Choice: Cheap House For Sale Near Toronto Right On The Lake Only Costs $170K
"People on [my] boat see the Canadian boat go by and say, 'Well why can they come here if we can't go there?'" he said, "We can't really give an answer."
In a June 5 news release, the Canada Border Services Agency stated that crossing the border into Canada on a recreational watercraft during the closure is illegal, and those who do so can face a fine of up to $750,000 and/or up to six months in prison under the Quarantine Act.
However, an August 5 press release from Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer's office states that the CBSA is applying these rules to any American boaters who cross the border, even if they remain in transit.
He adds that the United States Customs and Border Patrol has not implemented a similar rule.
"I have heard from local boaters who are frustrated they cannot enter Canadian waters due to COVID-19 border restrictions, while U.S. authorities are allowing Canadian boaters into American waters," Senator Schumer said in a statement.
"That type of uneven enforcement puts US boaters – especially tour companies – at a disadvantage and does nothing to protect Canadians from COVID-19 spread."
Rockport Boat Line, which operates tours that regularly enter U.S. waters, told CBC News that it had received permission from U.S. CBP to cross the border, based on the fact that their boats are classified as commercial vessels and not recreational ones.
Earlier this summer, Americans were still using the Alaska loophole to take their boats across the border on the west coast.
These boaters were then docking in British Columbia. The problem got so bad that many marinas refused to accept them.
The border between the two countries has been closed to non-essential travel since March. It is currently set to stay shut until August 21.