The Detroit River is about 32 miles long and 1 mile wide (the width varies at points). It serves as a major shipping channel and has an international border Michigan paddlers need to be aware of. Ownership and control of the islands varies by their geographic location along the river. Either you are on the USA side or you are on the Canadian side. Know where you are at all times. Be prepared to identify yourself properly to authorities.
Many islands are small, uninhabited, and part of the International Wildlife Refuge. Some have been artificially made by industry. Michigan's Stony Island and Canada's Crystal Island have been largely formed from dredged sediments for a deep shipping lane, while Zug Island and Elizabeth Park were once part of the mainland.
If you plan on visiting Canadian owned Islands call 519-967-4320 . Someone from Border Services in Windsor,Ontario,Canada will answer and it may result in an authorization number being issued without requiring you to go to the mainland first. Write the number down as you may be asked for it when Canadian authorities arrive.
If you cannot produce an authorization number, it's called "Non-Reporting", and the fine is $1000. You will be guilty of unauthorized entry onto foreign country soil and the Windsor Border Services doesn't play games.
Now comes the fun part, re-entering the United States legally. Call 313-393-3949 for USA customs inspection inbound in Detroit,MI. You may be told to report in person via driving your vehicle to Metro Beach, Erma Henderson Park, or Elizabeth Park and they will send a USA customs representative to inspect your kayak. If no one is available to come to you at those locations you may have to drive to the Ambassador bridge to report.
It's a $5000 fine for the first offence and your name is stuck in the computers forever. Any future legal border crossings will be jeopardized by your prior errors. U.S. and Canadian vessels like kayaks can freely cross the international boundaries and cruise where they want.
If you land on foreign soil for lunch, to pee, repack your kayak, etc., etc.-- follow the rules.
Bois Blanc Island
42°05′50″N 83°07′16″W / 42.09722°N 83.12111°W
42°07′21″N 83°07′17″W / 42.1225°N 83.12139°W
42°13′18″N 83°07′12″W / 42.22167°N 83.12°W
42°13′17″N 83°06′30″W / 42.22139°N 83.10833°W
42°20′45″N 82°55′31″W / 42.34583°N 82.92528°W
42°11′09″N 83°06′48″W / 42.18583°N 83.11333°W
United States of America :
42°20′35″N 82°58′28″W / 42.34306°N 82.97444°W
42°06′11″N 83°10′45″W / 42.10306°N 83.17917°W
42°04′51″N 83°10′27″W / 42.08083°N 83.17417°W
42°05′01″N 83°11′41″W / 42.08361°N 83.19472°W
42°06′09″N 83°08′51″W / 42.1025°N 83.1475°W
42°07′56″N 83°10′49″W / 42.13222°N 83.18028°W
42°06′22″N 83°08′29″W / 42.10611°N 83.14139°W
42°13′21″N 83°08′05″W / 42.2225°N 83.13472°W
42°07′36″N 83°09′33″W / 42.12667°N 83.15917°W
42°06′32″N 83°11′06″W / 42.10889°N 83.185°W
42°05′18″N 83°09′18″W / 42.08833°N 83.155°W
42°04′55″N 83°11′08″W / 42.08194°N 83.18556°W
42°11′32″N 83°08′10″W / 42.19222°N 83.13611°W
42°05′35″N 83°09′06″W / 42.09306°N 83.15167°W
42°14′19″N 83°08′24″W / 42.23861°N 83.14°W
Powder House Island
42°06′26″N 83°08′08″W / 42.10722°N 83.13556°W
42°05′32″N 83°10′01″W / 42.09222°N 83.16694°W
42°07′41″N 83°07′51″W / 42.12806°N 83.13083°W
42°04′06″N 83°11′19″W / 42.06833°N 83.18861°W
42°05′29″N 83°08′39″W / 42.09139°N 83.14417°W
42°05′57″N 83°10′26″W / 42.09917°N 83.17389°W
42°17′02″N 83°06′43″W / 42.28389°N 83.11194°W