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Camping on the Docks

Camping on the Docks By Jacob Elsbree   The Adirondack Coast is accessible by air, by land, and (kinda) by sea. Or atleast we can pretend it’s by sea. There’s plenty to do along the Richelieu River in Québec, but heading south, the river blows out into the huge expanse of Lake Champlain with an abundance of restaurants, pubs and excursions scattered along its coast. The prodigious body of water can be irresistible for those Canadians who prefer lake life to river relaxation. Some even end up camping on the water. Less than an hour from Montréal, but barely a…

Camping on the Docks

By Jacob Elsbree

 

The Adirondack Coast is accessible by air, by land, and (kinda) by sea. Or atleast we can pretend it’s by sea.

There’s plenty to do along the Richelieu River in Québec, but heading south, the river blows out into the huge expanse of Lake Champlain with an abundance of restaurants, pubs and excursions scattered along its coast. The prodigious body of water can be irresistible for those Canadians who prefer lake life to river relaxation. Some even end up camping on the water.

Less than an hour from Montréal, but barely a minute from the Rouses Point border crossing, Barcomb’s Marina is the closest stateside marina for Canadian visitors. Owner John Mott gets hundreds of boaters coming south on any summer weekend whether to use his full-service marina, stop into the attached Latitude 45 bar for a drink or to enjoy a day on the water.

Mott keeps a few of his docks open at all times for day-trippers, but 90 percent of Barcomb’s docks are rented to seasonal Canadian boaters.

“They can come by car, park at their boat, jump in the boat and go,” Mott says. “They’re gone for the weekend.”

Before splashing over the border, Canadian pleasure boaters roaming down from the Richelieu must call ahead to specific reporting locations which are staffed during the boating season for regular inspections. Once that’s done, the lake is theirs. According to U.S. Customs and
Border Protection, in some places it’s as easy as checking in with the CBP ROAM app to receive expedited processing on arrival.

Canadian day-trippers can also apply for a Border Boat Landing Permit known as I-68 pass. After being inspected, small pleasure boats receive the pass for the season allowing day-trippers to enter the U.S. from Canada and report in to Customs by telephone. NEXUS, which many use to cross the border by car and plane, also has a marine program which allows low-risk boaters to criss-cross the border.

Mott says his seasonal boater clientele skips the wait-time by having their marine inspections early in the season, later crossing by car with NEXUS.

Sam Barcomb, manager of Latitude 45, witnesses currencies, languages and accents mix over the bar as people from the “big city” to the north unwind. When they’ve had their last pint, some retire to their boats in Barcomb’s Marina out back.

“It’s easier for them to have a few drinks and go back to their boat and not have to worry about driving,” Sam says.

Sam describes one patron who sails down from Canada regularly during the summer. “He’ll have a Heineken — maybe two — ask for some peanuts, and then he’ll go back to his sailboat.”

During the day, Mott says the marina looks more like a campsite. “A lot of them don’t go out on the lake,” he says. “They’ll go to one of the other guys’ boats and have wine and cheese on the back and listen to music.”

“It’s a no brainer to stay on the lake,” Mott says. Except, be sure to nix the campfire. Enjoy the fiery sunset over Lake Champlain instead.

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