Boating season is upon us. With cottages up and running and the sun shining, getting out on the lake is a top priority for many boat owners. There are several safety precautions to ensure a fun and safe boating season, like reviewing the weather forecast, and checking fuel levels and personal flotation devices. But carrying a proof of competency for your boat is also a crucial element. Did you know that anyone operating a motorized pleasure craft must carry proof of competency (except in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut)?
Transport Canada introduced the proof of competency requirement in 1999, to help reduce boating deaths and injuries.
Proof of competency can be:
• a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC);
• proof you passed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999;
• a specified marine certificate; or
• a signed Rental Boat Safety Checklist.
Transport Canada recommends you take a boating safety course to learn the:
• minimum safety equipment you must carry on board
• Canadian Buoy system
• rules for sharing waterways
• laws and regulations that apply to boating
• best ways to respond in an emergency
What is a Rental Boat Safety Checklist?
This checklist includes the topics a rental agency must cover in a basic safety orientation to a client, about the boat, its equipment and features, as well as any hazards in the local waterways. Both parties (rental agency and you) must sign the checklist before you go out on the water. You must then carry the checklist on board as your proof of competency for the entire rental period.
Carry your documents
Have these with you before you leave shore:
• Proof of competency
• Photo ID
• Pleasure Craft Licence (for boats with a 10 hp (7.5 kW) or more motor)
Know and obey age – horsepower restrictions
• Youth under 16 years old may not operate personal watercrafts.
• Youth under 12 years old are restricted to 10 hp unless accompanied and supervised by someone 16 or older.
• Youth 12 to 16 years old are restricted to 40 hp unless accompanied and supervised by someone 16 or older.
1. Visit Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety (OBS) website: www.tc.gc.ca/boatingsafety.
2. Call the National Boating Safety Infoline: 1-800-267-6687.