Updated technology has made reporting a crossing of the marine boundary between the United States and Canada much more efficient for those traveling in small boats.
Federal law requires the operators of small pleasure vessels to immediately report their arrival into U.S. territory. They previously had to use one of the stations set up through the Outlying Area Reporting System. Once at one of these stations, boaters had to use a videophone to alert authorities with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
But last year, the CPB removed 16 OARS stations along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The agency now offers the Reporting Offsite Arrival-Mobile digital application. Boaters can use the app with their smartphone or tablet to inform CPB personnel that they’ve crossed the U.S. marine boundary.
With a new season of recreational boating, the CPB wants to remind people that the ROAM app is available. This new process saves boaters the time of having to stop at an OARS station and use the videophone.
Now they can register their entrance into U.S. marine territory while traveling. The free program can be found on Apple’s app store or the Google Play store.
“Boaters can also access the ROAM application at one of 25 iPad stations on shore, including stations in Oswego, Sackets Harbor, Clayton, Alexandria Bay, Singer Castle, Morristown, Ogdensburg and Waddington. CBP encourages them to use the app on their phone if access to any of the stations is barred by high water levels on the lake and river,” a story published Saturday by the Watertown Daily Times reported. “The service requires users to create an account to submit necessary information for checking in, such as biographic and citizenship data of the captain and passengers, vessel model and registration and trip details. They can also create [safe] traveler and conveyance profiles to reuse during future voyages, according to agency.”
This system will prove convenient for the operators of small boats. It’s also an improvement over the station-based reporting procedure. The CPB had to suspend the OARS system at 17 stations along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in 2017 due to high water.
It’s good that the government recognizes the value of advances in digital technology to streamline this reporting process. People traveling between Canada and the United States should make sure they make the app downloaded on their smartphone or tablet so they’ll be prepared when the need arises.