How to shop and ship across the border

Story by Harris & Ellis / July 12, 2023

Author: Patricia and Grant Bowlby, Yacht Brokers Harris & Ellis Yachts

When you’re looking on the Internet for boats for sale, it can be disappointing to discover that the perfect boat for you is across the border. Don’t worry, you can still purchase a vessel outside of Canada with just a bit more due diligence. This is where a Professional Yacht Broker can be an asset.

By going through a Canadian brokerage firm, your deposit on the vessel will stay in Canada until such time as you purchase the boat or will be returned to you if the boat is not suitable.

We recommend that you also hire the services of a border broker. The border broker will handle the Customs portion of the shipping and will be able to guide you through the process of bringing the boat across the border by water or by road.

Whether you move your boat by water or by land will depend upon where the boat is located and where it is going to. Sometimes it is less costly and more time efficient to move your boat to a US port close to the Canadian border and then sail it home.

If you can’t deliver it yourself, professional Canadian captains can help move your boat by water. Marine transport companies will ship your boat by land. Some of these shipping companies have their own border broker.

Experienced yacht brokers will have a deep knowledge of this area and can help you with the contacts and logistics of both shopping across the border and bringing your new boat home.



As first-time boat buyers and as foreigners wanting to buy a cruising catamaran in the US, we knew we needed a reliable broker that had our best interests in mind. John Heintzman was just that, and more! He was extremely committed to understanding what we were looking for, gave great advice, and guided us through the purchase process with great patience and knowledge. All in all, we felt very well taken care of.

I feel compelled to reach out about the absolutely wonderful experience that I have had with Grant and Patricia Bowlby. I completed the purchase of a boat yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. They were so helpful, kind, and patient. This was my first experience with a broker, and I think I’ve found the best.

I can’t thank Ewan Campbell enough for the super job he did in selling G, making up for my lack of experience in this realm and patiently searching for just the right buyer and a win-win for seller and buyer alike.

It was a wonderful experience selling A with Jeff Cole’s expert assistance. Thank you for simplifying a complicated process. Your patience and kindness are especially appreciated.

I just wanted to thank Jeff Cole for all his hard work. He was very professional and effective.

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