Boating Regulations

Transport Canada's Office of Boating Safety is the focal point for the recreational boating community. It has instituted some regulations that may affect members and guests of the Pennsylvania Club while they are using our facilities on Pennsylvania Island. Download the Safe Boating Guide while you're there, as that will give you a lot of good information on boating requirements.

If you are a resident of a country other than Canada and will be boating in Canadian waters, you can read about the requirements in full at this site: Requirements for Foreign Recreational Boaters in Canadian Waters. Here are some of the pertinent regulations:

The Regulations apply to non-residents operating a boat with a motor:

  • If they operate their pleasure craft in Canadian waters for more than 45 consecutive days or
  • If they operate a pleasure craft that is licensed or registered in Canada (including rented or chartered boats).
  • The Regulations do not apply to non-residents who operate their pleasure craft in Canadian waters for less than 45 consecutive days. Please note that a proof of residence will be required on board at all times.

Acceptable Proof of Competency for Non-Residents

For non-residents, proof of competency can take one of three forms:

  • A Canadian-issued pleasure craft operator card.
  • A completed boat rental safety check-list (for power-driven rental boats).
  • An operator card or equivalent that meets the requirements of their state or country.

So, as long as you operate a boat that is not licensed in Canada, nor operate you own boat for more than 45 consecutive days in Canadian waters, you do not need to show proof of competency (but be sure to always carry some identification to show proof of residency). Where this regulation could apply to you is if you rented a boat at a local marina such as Moon River, then you would be operating a boat that is licensed in Canada. In this case you would need to show proof of competency. The boat rental safety check-list from the marina should satisfy the requirement.

This also applies to operating the club boats, since most of them are registered in Canada. So, you must have proof of competency when operating a club boat. Either a Canadian-issued pleasure craft operator card or a boating certificate from your home state will suffice. However, regardless if you are operating your own boat or a club boat, the Club strongly urges everyone to get certified; it's the smart thing to do.

If you want to take the exam for the boat operator card, try out BoaterExam. They don't charge you to take their online course, but of course, they do charge you to take (or retake, if needed) the exam. You will only earn the boat operator card after you have paid the fee and successfully passed the exam.

Safety Equipment Requirements

The following are Canadian safety equipment that you will need to have on board - applicable for boats under 6 meters (approx. 20 ft.):

  • Watertight flashlight or three flares.
  • 50 ft. buoyant heaving line.
  • Sound signaling equipment (air horn, whistle or similar).
  • Bailer or manual bilge pump.
  • Manual propelling device (paddle/oar) or anchor.
  • Life jackets (available in camp).

All boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats and personal watercraft are required to have certain safety equipment on board. To make it easy, here is a sheet that summarizes the required safety equipment for each type of pleasure craft. Be aware that there is a fine of up to $250.00 per piece of equipment missing. Bass Pro sells safety kits that meet Canadian equipment requirements.

Age - Horsepower Restrictions

The Age - Horsepower Restrictions prohibit operators under the age of 16 from operating recreational vessels above specified horsepower limits:

  • Children under the age of 12 and not directly supervised by someone 16 years of age or older can operate a recreational vessel with no more than 10 hp (7.5 KW) .
  • Youth between 12 years of age and under 16 years of age and not directly supervised by someone 16 years of age or older can operate a recreational vessel with no more than 40 hp (30 KW).
  • Only persons 16 years of age or older can operate a personal watercraft (PWC) regardless of supervision.