It feels like Canada's the newest tourism destination this summer with reportedly hundreds of Americans crossing the border. Two U.S. boats in B.C. were fined by RCMP under the quarantine act for doing just that. While the Canada-U.S. border is closed for non-essential trips during COVID-19, some sneaky travellers are making their way across using the "Alaska loophole."

According to a statement released by the B.C. RCMP's Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit on Tuesday, July 21, two U.S. boaters were dinged after being spotted in Canadian waters.

The news arrives after locals reported seeing almost 100 U.S.-based ships enter Canada over the last month, some reportedly claiming they were travelling to Alaska but hanging around the coast for days instead.

The first vessel was charged on Friday, July 10. According to the release, they had entered Canada claiming to be headed for Alaska, but "misstated their intention," instead opting to hang around "Canada for the purposes of tourism." For this, they were charged $1,000.

A week later, on Friday, July 17, a whale-watching vessel from the U.S. was similarly located and fined "for the same offense." After dealing with Canadian border services, they were returned back to U.S. waters.

"Boaters are not allowed within Canadian territorial or boundary waters for discretionary, leisure (non-essential) reasons, including touring, sightseeing and pleasure fishing," the statement read.

This is a big deal, it continued — illegal boaters in Canada could face severe fines, get their boats seized, or face criminal charges. After receiving a fine, the boater will be "excluded from Canadian waters" and could be banned in the future from entering those waters.

Offences under the quarantine act like the trespassing boaters could land up to six months in prison and fines up to $750,000. If the offence puts someone at risk of death or serious harm, it could lead up to $1,000,000 in fines and three years in prison, read the statement.

Canada is cracking down on U.S. tourists crossing the border; earlier, two Americans were similarly fined $1,000 for entering Canada and failing to quarantine.

However, according to reports, there are many other U.S.-based vessels in Canadian waters that were not fined by police.

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