The late former U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, wrote that “To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor – sail, not drift”. Being purposeful and aware are critical to safe boating as more than 100 people are killed and many more are seriously injured in boating accidents every year. In this blog, we discuss the law, safety requirements, and safety precautions to make you purposeful, aware, and help you avoid serious and potentially fatal accidents.
Boating is governed by the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, which includes regulations related to the competency of operators of pleasure craft, small vessels, collisions, vessel operation restrictions, vessel pollution, and dangerous chemicals.
Licensing and Registration
If you operate or keep your boat primarily in Canadian waters, and it is propelled by a 10 hp motor or more, then you must obtain a pleasure craft licence. This licence is valid for 10 years and provides search and rescue personnel with critical information in the event of an emergency. In order to obtain a pleasure craft licence, you must apply online to Transport Canada:
However, you do not need to obtain a licence if you register your boat (doing so also serves as proof of ownership). For more information about registering your boat, visit Transport Canada’s online vessel registration office.
According to Transport Canada, approximately 90% of pleasure craft drowning deaths are due to failure to wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (vest type or pouch type). Always wearing your lifejacket or personal floatation device is the best protection against drowning.
Transport Canada’s minimum safety requirements differ between types of pleasure craft, but, in general, you are required to have the following safety equipment onboard your boat and ensure that it is in good working order:
While on the water, you must: