BOATsmart! Canada
Knowledge Base

Module 02 - Boating Rules, Regulations, and Equipment

Canada’s Boating Laws and Regulations

The Small Vessel Regulations 

The Small Vessel Regulations are laws that apply to all boat operators in Canada. These laws outline:

  • The minimum safety equipment that must be carried on your boat;
  • Safety precautions and maintenance procedures to follow before and while boating;
  • Boat registration and licensing requirements; and
  • Construction standards for building a boat.

The offense ‘Careless Operation of a Vessel’ is part of the Small Vessel Regulations. This means no person shall operate a vessel in a careless manner, without proper care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons.

The Criminal Code of Canada 

The Criminal Code of Canada enables law enforcement authorities to charge boat operators for criminal offenses.

The Criminal Code of Canada:

  • Requires boat operators to stop and assist other boaters in distress, so long as it does not place themselves, their boat, or their passengers (guests) in danger.
  • Requires that a spotter keeps watch of any person being towed, like a water-skier (the spotter can NOT be the boat operator).
  • Prohibits water skiers from being towed from one hour after sunset to sunrise.
  • Prohibits boats from being operated in a manner that is dangerous to the public.
  • Prohibits false emergency signals or messages.
  • Prohibits operators from interfering with marine signals and navigation aids, such as buoys.
  • Prohibits the operation of a boat that is in unseaworthy (poor or unsafe) condition.
  • Prohibits the operation of a boat while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or controlled substances.
  • Prohibits the operation of a boat while prohibited from boat operation.

Get your Official Canadian
Boating License

The Official Transport Canada Boating Course, Test & License.

Get your Official Canadian
Boating License

The Official Transport Canada Boating
Course, Test & License.

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