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Responsible Boating

Responsible Boating is Clean, Safe and Courteous

Be Safe on the water this season

According to the Drowning Prevention Research Centre Canada, approximately 100 Canadians drown in recreational boating-related incidents each year. With boating on the rise in Canada, it’s as important as ever to be as safe as possible on the water.

There are several measures you can take to prevent tragedy before you get out on the water.


  1. Get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card                                                                               

If you plan to operate a motorized pleasure craft, you must have a valid proof of competency. For most Canadians, this means a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You can get your card by taking a boating safety course from an accredited course provider. With this course, you will learn safe boating practices, such as:

  • The minimum safety equipment required on board your boat
  • The rules of the road on the water, including what Canadian buoys look like and what they mean, and how to share waterways
  • How to respond in an emergency
  • How to properly license your boat
  1. Be prepared

Taking small steps before you head out can help you stay safe on the water every time you go boating. For example:

  • Checking the weather to ensure it is suitable for your vessel’s capabilities
  • Ensuring you have the required safety equipment on board and that it is in good working order, accessible, and that you know how to use it
  • Ensuring you have sufficient fuel
  • Understanding your surroundings, such as local hazards and the body of water you’re boating on
  • Making a sail plan—before you go out on the water, tell someone where you’re leaving from, where you’re going, and when you plan to return
  1. Wear a lifejacket

Eighty percent of people who drown during boating-related incidents were not wearing lifejackets. earing a lifejacket that fits, floats, and works like it’s supposed to is one of the best things you can do to increase your safety. Wear your lifejacket—it can be the difference between life and death. 

  1. Boat sober

Don't cruise with booze or other substances. Impaired boating is dangerous and illegal. Don’t put yourself and others at risk by

Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety is dedicated to overseeing regulations and enforcement related to pleasure craft and operator competency. If you have questions about recreational boating, contact the Office of Boating Safety by phone toll-free at 1-888-463-0521 or by email at They can provide you with up-to-date information and resources to help you have an enjoyable boating season.


For more information, visit the Office of Boating Safety (

Soyez en sécurité sur l’eau au cours de la saison


Selon le Centre canadien de recherche sur la prévention de la noyade, il y a environ 100 Canadiennes et Canadiens qui se noient chaque année dans ces incidents associés à la navigation de plaisance. Comme la navigation est en hausse au Canada, il est plus important que jamais d’être aussi sécuritaire que possible sur l’eau.

Il y a plusieurs mesures que vous pouvez prendre pour prévenir les tragédies avant de partir sur l’eau.

  1. Obtenez votre carte de conducteur d’embarcation de plaisance.                                                                               

Si vous prévoyez conduire une embarcation de plaisance motorisée, vous devez avoir une preuve de compétence valide. Pour la plupart des Canadiennes et Canadiens, il s’agit de la carte de conducteur d’embarcation de plaisance. Vous pouvez vous procurer une carte en suivant un cours de sécurité nautique d’un prestataire de cours agréé. Dans le cadre de ce cours, vous apprendrez les pratiques de sécurité nautique, notamment :

  • l’équipement de sécurité minimum requis à bord de votre embarcation;
  • les règles liées aux voies navigables, y compris à quoi ressemblent les bouées canadiennes et ce qu’elles signifient, et comment partager les voies navigables;
  • la façon de réagir dans une situation d’urgence;
  • comment bien immatriculer votre bateau.
  1. Soyez prêt!

Effectuer quelques petites mesures avant de partir peut vous aider à rester en sécurité sur l’eau chaque fois que vous naviguez. Par exemple :

  • Vérifier que les conditions météorologiques conviennent aux capacités de votre embarcation.
  • Veiller à ce que l’équipement de sécurité requis soit à bord et qu’il soit en bon état de marche, qu’il soit accessible et que vous sachiez comment l’utiliser.
  • Vous assurer d’avoir suffisamment de carburant.
  • Comprendre votre environnement, comme les dangers locaux et le plan d’eau sur lequel vous naviguez.
  • Préparer un plan de navigation – avant de partir sur l’eau, dire à quelqu’un d’où vous partez, où vous allez et à quel moment vous prévoyez revenir.
  1. Portez un gilet de sauvetage

Quatre-vingts pour cent des personnes qui se sont noyées lors d’incidents associés à la navigation ne portaient pas de gilet de sauvetage. Portez votre gilet de sauvetage, il peut faire la différence entre la vie et la mort.

  1. Naviguez en toute sobriété

Ne naviguez pas sous l’effet de l’alcool ou d’autres substances. La navigation avec facultés affaiblies est dangereuse et illégale. Ne mettez pas la vie des autres ni la vôtre en danger en mélangeant alcool ou drogues et navigation de plaisance.

Le Bureau de la sécurité nautique de Transports Canada se consacre à la surveillance de la réglementation et de l’application de la loi en ce qui concerne les bateaux de plaisance et les compétences des conducteurs. Si vous avez des questions au sujet de la navigation de plaisance, communiquez avec le Bureau de la sécurité nautique par téléphone au numéro sans frais 1-888-463-0521 ou par courriel à Vous y trouverez des renseignements et des ressources à jour pour vous aider à profiter d’une saison de navigation agréable.

Pour en savoir plus, visitez le site Web du Bureau de la sécurité nautique (

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. 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, here are the minimum safety equipment requirements.

 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. 


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. 

Marinas in the Clean Marine Program 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 to find a clean marine facility near you!

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 neighbors; help others when they need it, tidy up after ourselves, and be respectful to the people and environment around us.

  1. LEND-A-HAND: It doesn’t matter 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 onshore. 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 it does not become a  hazard 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 neighbors ample room. Respect the area, property owners and  be considerate of private property when choosing an anchoring/mooring location  Remember winds change, anchor lines 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!


Best Management Practices for Preventing Invasive Species

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