Complying with provincial and federal guidelines of the water can appear daunting. There are Transport Canada security laws, Trade Canada requirements to be used of VHF radios, and provincial laws to make sure you’re not transporting invasive species. The myriad guidelines are enforced by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Canadian Coast Guard, and conservation officers. Right here’s a take a look at what’s most vital for staying secure, and compliant, on the water.

Preserve it helpful

OPP marine items often discover boaters with life-jackets on board, however not accessible within the case of an emergency. As an illustration, storing life-jackets within the bow the place somebody must crawl on their fingers and knees to entry them isn’t acceptable, OPP Provincial Marine Co-ordinator Sgt. David Moffatt defined.

He steered these not sporting a life-jacket ought to put it on the again of their seat. Accessibility can also be vital for different security gear, similar to buoyant throwing strains, which are required by federal laws.


On the monetary facet, patrons of used boats should pay the tax on the trailer on the Ontario Ministry of Transportation after they plate it, however can now additionally pay the tax on the boat and motor there. Though some imagine there’s solely tax on the boat, not the motor, Gullick mentioned that isn’t the case and each are taxable.

Have your unique card

Most boat house owners know they want a Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card, or different proof of competency, if they’ve a motor on their boat. This additionally applies to electrical motors. Boaters should additionally carry the unique card, not a photocopy.

You pay for wake injury

Though velocity restrict indicators don’t exist on most waters, Moffatt mentioned boaters should be travelling at a velocity that permits them to take “early and defensive motion to keep away from collision.” This implies not travelling too quick at evening or in situations the place visibility is proscribed, and in areas of excessive visitors. Boaters are legally liable for any injury attributable to their wake. For instance, if a boater is working near shore at a excessive velocity and wake causes injury to a docked boat, the boater that brought on the waves might be taken to court docket for the damages.


Boaters will need to have bow and stern lights, in addition to an working flashlight when on the water from sundown to dawn, and in situations of lowered visibility (similar to fog). The strict gentle have to be seen from 360 ̊ across the boat. Moffatt has heard of cases the place tape was placed on the entrance of the strict gentle to cease gentle air pollution. This isn’t acceptable.

Have recent flares

Massive boats or any boat that travels a couple of nautical mile from shore must have flares aboard. Bear in mind they expire after 4 years.

Renew your registration

Those that have boats with a motor bigger than 9.9 horsepower should additionally licence their boat and show their registration quantity. What many boaters aren’t conscious of is they should renew the license each 10 years, and if a proposal earlier than authorities goes forward, will probably be each 5 years, and there can be a $15 price. Some sailboats can even want a license.

Licensed to speak

If there’s a VHF marine radio within the boat, the operator will need to have a restricted operator’s certificates, in accordance with Canadian Energy Squadron (CPS) supervisor of particular packages, John Gullick. Whereas some imagine they’re okay in the event that they don’t flip the radio on, or discuss on it, Gullick pressured that’s not the case. There’s a Canadian station licence issued by Trade Canada for these radios, which isn’t wanted on Canadian waters however is within the US.


Federal laws require any boat with a built-in gas tank, inboard engine or gas-operated home equipment to have a 5BC hearth extinguisher on board. It have to be charged.

Engine cutoff

New guidelines coming into impact would require operators of boats with an emergency disconnect to make use of it when on aircraft when in US waters.

Clear it up

New provincial laws require the proprietor of any watercraft, from kayak to energy boat, to empty the bilge water and take away any aquatic crops, animals, and algae from their craft and trailer earlier than traversing overland to a different water physique.

Consuming legal guidelines

Alcohol could solely be consumed on a ship if it has everlasting sleeping quarters, cooking home equipment, and a bathroom, and is connected to the bottom by some means by anchoring or docking. The important thing phrase is everlasting with this legislation, Moffatt identified.

Trailer inspection not wanted

There was confusion concerning trailer inspections for big boats and certification for automobiles pulling them. The excellent news is, in 2019, pick-up vans and trailers for private use had been made exempt from the annual inspection and displaying the yellow sticker.


Within the eyes of provincial conservation officers, a ship is handled the identical as some other automobile. Hunters can’t shoot from a automobile, and the identical applies on water.

In accordance with NDMNRF Provincial Enforcement Specialist David Critchlow, this implies no taking pictures from any boat with a motor connected that gives a way of propulsion. Even when the motor is turned off. This implies no taking pictures from a motorized boat when travelling down a river in the hunt for moose.

Waterfowling exception

You may hunt for migratory birds and double-breasted cormorant, as lengthy your motor is turned off and never shifting (the motor can keep within the water).

The motor can be used when chasing crippled birds, however the hunter can’t shoot till ahead movement has ceased and the motor is turned off.

Initially revealed within the July 2022 problem of Ontario OUT of DOORS

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