U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced May 3 a voluntary online reporting tool to expedite participating boaters entry into the U.S. The Small Vessel Reporting System allows international boaters to pre-register with CBP rather than report for inspection upon arrival in the U.S. making the reporting process easier and faster.

Boat owners and passengers can take advantage of the free registration by filling out an online application and scheduling a visit to an enrollment center near them. Boat owners or passengers who are currently 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 an enrollment center. The system is open to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as well as Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who are citizens of visa waiver countries. Once enrolled, boat owners file a small vessel reporting float plan prior to their entry into the U.S.

When filing the plan, the filer will receive a float plan number. On arrival in the U.S., masters can then call CBP at the closest Port of Entry with the float plan number, answer a few customs questions and receive clearance to enter the U.S. Passengers must register individually to be cleared quickly into the U.S. through the new system. Passengers who have not preregistered with CBP through the Small Vessel Reporting System must still report in person to a CBP facility. A Local Boater Option reporting system began in 2006. LBO includes Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

LBO allowed CBP to test and develop the electronic reporting system before expanding into the new SVRS. The next phase includes offering the system to the entire U.S./Canada border area this summer. The system will then expand to cover the rest of the U.S. over the coming months.

For more information or to begin the registration process visit www.cbp.go