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Bryce Carlson & Boomerang Carnets Team Up in Row Across Atlantic

Monday, February 1, 2021

Imagine waking up one morning leaving your home knowing you were about to get into a rowboat and row across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted from Newfoundland Canada to the shores of England.  Bryce Carlson, a science teacher from Cincinnati Ohio, did exactly that.  “Ohio Teacher Sets Record for Rowing Alone Across the Atlantic” read the headline in The New York Times, echoed by news outlets worldwide.  Carlson’s preparation was filled with intense physical training, securing funding from various sources, obtaining a perfectly designed 20 ft. ocean rowboat (naming her Lucille after his grandmother) and getting an ATA Carnet.  The ATA Carnet is an internationally accepted customs document used when temporarily exporting merchandise, goods, or equipment.  Carnets allow the movement of goods across international borders import-duty and -tax free into 87+ carnet countries and territories, and back to the originating country, for up to a year.

Bryce Carlson first contacted boomerang carnets® mid-May 2018 and spoke to Marge Walsh, one of our Customer Service and Sales Reps, applying for a carnet a few weeks later.  Carlson recalls, “The carnet included the boat, the trailer, and all the unattached gear and equipment used for my Atlantic crossing.  The boat itself with attached electronics was about $75,000.  I trailered the boat to Newfoundland from Cincinnati, Ohio behind my Jeep, taking a ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.  My friend then drove the Jeep with trailer back to the U.S. after I left Newfoundland on Lucille.  Returning, the boat was packed into a container and travelled back by ship.”

“I spoke with Bryce directly quite often,” Walsh said.  “He was my primary point of contact for the application and very down to earth and humble.  Given what he was about to undertake, he in no way boasted about himself and was very grounded.  He was all about sharing his experience so those who wanted, could learn and grow from his adventure.”

                     View at sea courtesy of Bryce Carlson

Launching from Newfoundland on June 27, 2018, Carlson was exhilarated.  Lucille was packed with all he needed and constructed with a water-tight cabin that he would climb into to sleep at night.  He was at the oars from 7 a.m. till 8 at night, rowing an average of 12 hours a day with breaks for water and food.  There were moments of sheer terror, as when he encountered ocean storms that capsized Lucille about a dozen times and there were moments of tranquil beauty in the glorious sea life that surrounded him.  He called his girlfriend and friends via phone at night and tracked his progress.  As he was nearing his goal, he encountered strong winds that threatened to veer him off course, part of the boat got torn off and to keep her on course, he had to steer straight into the wind.  He could not put the oars down for a minute and worried that he would be too far off course.  After a few days of constant rowing, with little sleep and food he did veer somewhat off his original course but reached his goal to the shores of England to his great relief.  He did it in 38 days.  The previous record had been 53 days.  He beat the record by 15 days.  Amazing!

For Bryce Carlson, challenges are a way of life and he shared what he thought of his record-breaking feat now and what he was planning next.  “It of course feels good to have successfully completed the row.  But while past successes are always a part of us, they remain in the past, and I prefer to keep looking forward.  I’m still teaching, yes, and this past year has been especially challenging.  The challenges of teaching in addition to COVID concerns and travel restrictions have largely sidelined extracurricular adventures for this past year, but I have a couple projects I’m starting to plan out a little more earnestly now. Nothing set yet.”

Marge Walsh

Marge Walsh, her family, and colleagues at boomerang, followed Carlson’s path across the Atlantic each day of his journey, tracking his progress from posts on his website, inspiring her own life.  “Bryce Carlson motivated me to always strive for more.”

Bryce Carlson’s ATA Carnet saved him $22,500 in taxes and duty.  Virtually all types of goods can be transported under the ATA Carnet. There are few exceptions. Examples of acceptable carnet goods can be found here:

The ATA Carnet international customs document is the most versatile and affordable temporary export/import tool available to exporters, engineers, athletes, film and television professionals, musicians, manufacturers, makers, tech inventors, adventurers and perhaps yourself.  If you have questions about your goods, contact one of our Carnet Specialists on the Carnet HelpLine® 1-800-ATA-2900 / 1-800-282-2900 or email us.  

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