| Owners and operators
of pleasure craft are required to obtain certain documentation, which
depends on the type and size of the boat and the power of the engine.
Basic information is provided below, with general information about
boating safety and the Safe Boating Guide available from Transport
of Boating Safety, or you can call the Safe Boating line at 1-800-267-6687.
The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations require
operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor and used for recreational
purposes to have proof of competency on board at all times. Proof
of competency can take 1 of 3 forms: (1) A Pleasure Craft Operator
Card; (2) Proof of having successfully completed a boating safety
course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999; or (3) A completed rental-boat
safety checklist. For more information visit Transport Canada: Pleasure
A pleasure craft licence provides a unique identification number-commonly
referred to as the "licence number"-that owners must display on
a recreational vessel's bow, as required under the Small Vessel
Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Owners must either
license or register all recreational vessels powered by engines
of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more, regardless of where they
operate them in Canada. Law enforcement and search and rescue officials
use the licence number to help trace a pleasure craft to its owner.
Delivery of Pleasure Craft Licensing is available at Service Canada
Counters. For more information visit Service
Canada - Pleasure Craft Licences.
The Safety Compliance Notice is a label affixed to a boat to indicate
that it meets Canada's Construction Standards for Small Vessels
and it may include maximum capacity and other important construction
All boats are required to carry safety equipment, depending on the
type and size of the boat. All equipment should be checked regularly,
be well maintained, and replaced if necessary. There are standard
procedures that all boaters should be aware of and implement before
every departure, including preparation of a trip/rescue Plan, acquisition
of appropriate marine charts, weather forecast checks, equipment
checks, and safe fuelling. Each type of boating activity has its
own body of knowledge and set of procedures to be followed for a
safe and enjoyable experience.
Under Canada Customs regulations, the master of each vessel
arriving from a foreign port or destination must report immediately
to customs upon arrival in Canada. Only the master is permitted
to go ashore to make the report. All passengers, merchandise and
baggage must remain on board until released. Failure to comply with
Customs law could result in penalties or seizure of your vessel.
Remember that handguns, pistols, automatic firearms, and personal
protection devices including stun guns, mace and pepper spray are
prohibited entry into Canada.
- Private Boats program
The CANPASS program operated by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
allows CANPASS permit holders who wish to enter Canada aboard private
boats from the United States to receive pre-authorized customs clearance.
The boat operator may call CANPASS up to four hours prior to arrival
in Canada and must provide details regarding the trip, the passengers,
the crew and the boat. CANPASS permits are valid for five years
and are not transferable. All travellers aboard the boat, including
the crew, have to be the CANPASS program members. There is a fee
for each applicant 18 years of age or older.
must meet the following criteria:
citizens or permanent residents of Canada, or citizens or resident
aliens of the US
no criminal record (or have been granted a pardon)
had no record of a customs seizure within the past five years
never been charged with a violation of customs or immigration
admissible to Canada under immigration laws
criteria may apply
1-888-CANPASS (1-888-226-7277) (Reporting of arrival)
General Inquiries: 1-800-461-9999 (Border Information Service)
Website and Application Form: Service
Canada - CANPASS
and boat trailers may only be left in Canada during the off-season
if you are having maintenance or repair work done on them at a bona
fide marina. An E99 permit enables you to leave your boat at a marina
while you travel in Canada.
The Canadian Coast Guard enforces regulations for all boaters. Children
under the age of 16 may not operate powerboats, not even under adult
supervision. Proof of operator competency will soon be required
for all powered craft, including personal watercraft. For information,
contact the Canadian
Operating a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs is not just dangerous,
it is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Some boaters
are not aware of this fact. Others, unfortunately, simply choose to
ignore it. Being in control of a boat is like being in control of
. You have to be responsible. You can be charged if a police
officer believes your ability to operate a vessel has been impaired
by alcohol or drugs, even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below
.08%. The penalties in B.C. are as follows:
Offence : At least a $600 fine
Offence : At least 14 days imprisonment
Offence : At least 90 days imprisonment
is no limit to the fines; the lowest is $600
someone is injured or killed, the sentence may exceed 10 years
may not cover you
lose their driver's licence or be prohibited from operating a vessel
for 3 months, depending on the charge. You will also have a criminal
record that could prevent you from being bonded or will bar you
from travel to many countries.
The following boating offences are also in violation of the Criminal
Code of Canada:
a boat in a manner that is dangerous to the public.
Operating a vessel while impaired by drugs
keeping watch of a person in tow (water-skiers, etc)
Towing a person after dark
operating an unseaworthy vessel
a false message (i.e.: false distress calls)
with any marine signal by tying the boat to a navigation signal,
buoy, or other sea-mark used for navigation purposes.
altering, removing, or concealing a signal, buoy or other seamark
used for navigation purposes.
If you have an American operator's licence, you may use your
aircraft, marine or amateur radio while visiting Canada. All other
types of radio transmitting stations may only be used in Canada
if accompanied by a letter of registration from Industry Canada's
Radio Regulatory and Broadcasting Branch (613) 998-3372.