Rules of Boating

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Canadian summers are simply wonderful.  Some people may enjoy spending time on or near the water.  However, it is important to stay safe on and around the water.  Knowing some basic water safety rules and boating rules can help keep you or your loved ones safe.

As a favorite hobby in Canada, waterways will see millions of people this summer enjoying boating.  However, with that many vessels in the water, accidents can and do happen.  In Canada, in order to operate a vehicle, motorists need to have an operator’s license (or driver’s license).  Since 2009, those wishing to operate a motorized boat will also have to obtain an operator’s license.  This license is called the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC).  It was designed to have boaters understand the rules and safety guidelines to follow when boating, and to be prepared for emergency situations.  Once you obtain your PCOC, you will need to keep it on board with you when operating the vessel.  The fine without having it is $250!

There are several boating offences such as:

  • Not enough approved lifejackets on board.

  • Careless operation.

  • Speeding.

  • Not observing right of ways (buoys).

  • Consuming alcoholic beverages when operating the vessel.

There are several rules of boating that need to be observed:

  • Navigation lights need to be on your vessel (red on the left side and green on the right side).

  • Remember that the left side of the boat is also referred to as the port side, and the right side of your boat is referred to as the starboard side.

  • Marking channels need to be respected in order to be navigable.  Keeping red buoys, channel markers and lights on your right and green on your left.

  • In order to pass a vessel, you will need to indicate that you attempt to pass with one short horn blast. 

With these safety tips in mind boating may be safer for you and your family this summer.  Always obey the rules of the waterway and enjoy your time on the water!