Responsible Boating

Responsible Boating is Green, Clean, Safe And Courteous

⇒ Green/Clean Boating

We recognize the potential impact that boats have on the marine ecosystem, and the communities we enjoy.  It’s up to all of us to understand how we can minimize our impact and practice responsible environmental stewardship. 

Ontario Clean Marine Program Eco-Rated Marinas proudly fly the Clean Marine environmental flag. As a boater, this is your assurance that the marina has adopted the highest environmental standards for marinas in the world. Check out the Boating Ontario marina directory for the closest clean marine facility near you. 

Ten Tips to Green Boating

     1. Manage all sewage responsibly by using pump-out services where possible and/or dumping sewage in deep open water, away from anchorages, sensitive areas, shellfish beds and swimmers. It is illegal to release sewage at the dock, in anchorages, near sensitive areas or within three nautical miles of shore. Reduce greywater discharge (from sinks and showers). 

     2. Small spills from recreational boaters add up and have a negative impact on the environment. Take care when fueling by not rushing and using oil absorbent rags and other devices to make sure no fuel goes in the water. If you do experience a small spill, contain it with a spill kit or report it at 1.800.OILS.911.

     3.Use bilge filters or bilge pads to absorb oil and fuel so none gets pumped overboard accidentally.

     4. Maintain the boat using environmentally responsible products or alternatives. Use hard bottom paint (non-sloughing), or eco-friendly alternatives. 

     5. Dispose of all wastes properly. Remember that many remote areas do not have garbage facilities and it is illegal to throw anything overboard, even organic food waste!

     6. Haul out at responsible boat yards with containment policies and equipment so sanding remnants and scrapings don’t end up in the water. 


⇒ Safe Boating

While boating can be an extraordinary experience, it comes with inherent risk. It doesn’t matter what type of boating you enjoy, or if you buy, borrow or rent, it’s your responsibility to ensure you are well-trained and informed about how to stay safe on the water.

The go-to resource for safety is Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide, which you can download here. It outlines much of what you’ll need to know to stay safe on the water, including the minimum requirements for safety equipment on pleasure craft. For easy reference, we’ve listed the minimum safety equipment requirements below. Boat Notes is another abbreviated version of the Safe Boating Guide and is an excellent reference.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council identifies FIVE key steps to safer boating:

  1. Wear Your Lifejacket. 
  2. Don't Drink and Boat. 
  3. Take a Boating Course. 
  4. Be Prepared. 
  5. Beware of Cold Water Risks. 


⇒ Following the Boater's Code

Being part of the boating community means knowing and following good etiquette; traditions that, over generations, have become the unwritten rules of the road. Just like being on land, we need to be good neighbours; help others when they need it, tidy up after ourselves and be respectful the people and environment around us.

     1. LEND-A-HAND: It doesn’t if you prefer power, sail or paddle - boaters help each other out. It could be as simple as offering to carry something on a dock, offering a seasoned word of advice or something more serious like placing a distress call for someone in trouble; it’s your job to look out for your fellow boaters.

     2.  UNDERWAY: It goes without saying, you need to know and follow the rules of the road. When overtaking a vessel, allow for as much room as possible and travel at a speed that won’t unnecessarily rock their boat. Slow down when being overtaken. If possible, overtake a vessel under sail well to leeward or pass astern in a crossing situation, so you don’t block their wind. Watch your wake; think about the wash you create for people out fishing, kayaking, enjoying time on a moored boat – and even those on shore. Finally, if you see someone in trouble, always stop to help.

     3.  AT THE MARINA: Don’t just dock anywhere - make sure your slip hasn’t been reserved by someone else. Make sure you return carts, wheelbarrows and other shared marina equipment. Tidy up your cords, equipment and personal items on the dock so they’re not hazards for someone else. No swimming! There are a number of safety reasons not to swim in a marina unless, of course, it is a designated swimming area. Offer to help others with their lines when docking.

     4.  ANCHORING & MOORING: Slow down when entering an anchorage or mooring area. Select your anchorage carefully – giving yourselves and your new neighbours ample room. Remember winds change, anchors line tangle and hulls and dinghy’s can easily bang into each other. If you’re traveling with a lot of people and plan to be very social, you should anchor a little further away.  Be thoughtful at night; don’t run your generator around the clock, paddle rather than motor to shore and back and be conscious of your activity and noise levels.

     5. AT THE RAMP & FUEL DOCK: Ramps and fuel docks are not a place to linger or socialize – wait your turn, do what you need to do and get out of the way!

Wherever you are: take your garbage home with you!


*with resources from Boating BC.

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