What are My Responsibilities?

As a boat operator in Canada you are legally responsible for equipping yourself, your passengers and your boat with the right equipment. You are also responsible for operating your boat in a safe and courteous manner and for ensuring the safety of your passengers and other boaters on the water. Failure to do so could result in fines and penalties.

Using Common Courtesy

You are required by law to operate your boat in a safe and courteous manner. Use common sense, take responsibility for your actions and consider the following factors every time you operate your boat:

Heavy Boat Traffic

  • Your distance from shore
  • Water and wind speed conditions
  • Visibility conditions
  • Local hazards and obstructions
  • The amount of boat traffic in the vicinity
  • Your boat’s handling characteristics and capabilities
  • Your level of skill and experience
  • Posted speed limits

Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations

Local restrictions have been placed on some Canadian waterways to promote public safety. Some of these regulations include a ban on motorized boats, maximum engine power limits, speed limits and a ban on recreational towing activities. The regulations also limit where certain types of boats may or may not be permitted to operate in Canada. Operators are required to comply with these regulations and should check locally for more information.

Will You be Lending Your Boat or PWC?

Understand that if you plan on lending your watercraft to a friend, both you (the owner) and the person borrowing your boat (the operator) are responsible for the boat. You should ensure that the operator:

Lending your Boat

  • Has obtained a Pleasure Craft Operator Card
  • Understands Canada’s boating laws and regulations and is a responsible person
  • Wears an approved life jacket or PFD
  • Understands navigation and right-of-way rules
  • Understands the handling characteristics of your craft
  • Knows about the location of local hazards or obstructions
  • Knows the location of safety equipment on your craft and how to use it