The Office of Boating Safety is responsible for overseeing regulations, standards and policies, enforcement and technical services for recreational vessels. It encourages safe boating practices and compliance with regulations.
Get started with safe boating
Find useful resources for recreational boaters. Topics include buying a pleasure craft, pleasure craft courtesy checks, requirements for foreign boaters, human powered craft, life jackets, trip plans and safety tips.
Download the Safe Boating Guide (PDF, 4.7 MB)
Learn more about safe and responsible boating practices. Make sure that you know the requirements and understand the regulations that apply to boating.
Obtain Proof of Competency
Everyone who operates a power-driven boat in Canada needs proof of competency — something that shows they understand the rules and how to safely operate a boat. The Pleasure Craft Operator Card is the most common. You can get one by passing an accredited boating safety course.
Apply for a Pleasure Craft Licence
When you buy a boat, you need to get a pleasure craft licence. It’s free. The number allows Search and Rescue personnel to access information in an emergency.
Choose the right life jacket
Choosing the right life jacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is very important for keeping you and your onboard guests safe. Here are some tips on choosing the right one for adults and children.
Prepare before you sail
Take a few minutes to make sure you're ready to boat safely before you leave. It can prevent problems when you're out on the water. Complete a pre-departure check list, a sail plan and check the water and weather conditions to ensure you're prepared.
Speed and impaired boating
Don't mix speed, alcohol or other substances with boating. Remember that you are responsible for the safety of your guests and others using the waterway. You must always be prepared and alert, as conditions on the water can change quickly.
If you're visiting Canada, it's important to know the rules before operating a boat on Canadian waters.
Boating safety app
Getting ready for a boat ride? Make sure to download the Discover Boating app on your smartphone. It gives you information about the key rules, guidelines and best practices that will help you and your family stay safe on water.
Your comments and concerns relating to Pleasure Craft are important to us and we will address them as quickly as possible. Contact the Office of Boating Safety.
Third-party information liability disclaimer
Some of the information on this page has been provided by external sources. The Government of Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information. Content provided by external sources is not subject to official languages, privacy and accessibility requirements.
- Marine Safety Equipment and Training Initiative
- Abandoned boats and wrecks
- Boating Safety Contribution Program
- Rental boat safety
- Sources of Police Enforcement Authorities under the CSA 2001
- Local Authorities' Guide - Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (PDF, 609 KB)
- Manufacturers and Importers of Small Vessels
- Safe Operation
- Private Buoys Guide (PDF, 987 KB)
- Stand up paddleboard safety
- Prohibition on Propeller-Driven Surfboard-Type Vessels
- Pleasure Craft Factsheet (PDF, 618 KB)
- Tier I - Policy – Acceptance of Electronic Visual Distress Signals in lieu of Pyrotechnic Distress Signals on pleasure craft