Safety is the most important consideration when venturing out on Canadian waters. Please remember these basic guidelines:

  • You must have a properly fitting Canadian-approved lifejacket or personal flotation device on board for each person on the boat. Lifejackets should be worn at all times.
  • It is a crime to operate a boat while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Do not head out on the water without a reliable weather forecast.
  • Be aware of local navigational hazards.
  • The boat owner is responsible for the safety of all passengers.

In the interest of safety, Canada has special rules for boats that have a motor:

Operators of a boat with a motor, including a Jet Ski or Sea Doo, must carry proof of competency on board at all times. The Canadian Coast Guard Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is the most widely accepted proof of competency. To get a Pleasure Craft Operator Card you must pass a basic boating safety test. Canada's Office of Boating Safety has information about accredited Boating Safety course providers who can issue Pleasure Craft Operator Cards.

Failure to carry proof of competency risks a fine of $250.

Non-residents who do not have Canadian-issued proof of competency (eg. PCOC) must provide a certificate or other similar document issued by their country or state showing that they have met the boating safety requirements in their own place of residence. There are some exceptions for non-resident boaters who operate a pleasure craft for less than 45 consecutive days in Canadian waters.

If you are not a Canadian resident and want to learn more about the rules and regulations that apply to you, visit Transport Canada's Office of Boating Safety web page: 'Visitor Information - Requirements for Foreign Recreational Boaters in Canadian Waters'.

For more information about safe boating in Canadian waters: