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Inspection of pleasure craft

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), provincial and municipal police forces and other authorized local authorities enforce the laws that apply to boats. They may inspect your boat and monitor your boating activities to make sure that requirements are being met. This may include checking for safety equipment, your Pleasure Craft Operator Card and careless operation on the water.

Prohibition of careless operation

No person shall operate a vessel in a careless manner, without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons. Here are some examples of behaviors that could be considered careless:

  • Operating a vessel at high engine speed in circular or crises-cross patterns for extended periods of time in the same area;
  • Jumping waves or the wake of another vessel unreasonably close to that vessel, or so as to cause engine RPM to peak and make unusual or excessive noise;
  • Weaving through congested traffic at more than slow speed;
  • Swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision (playing chicken);
  • Operating a vessel at a speed higher than is necessary to maintain steerage way when near swimmers, or non-powered vessels. 

Requirements for due care and reasonable consideration for other people

According to the Canada Shipping Act, each operator of a pleasure craft, in so far as he/she can do so without serious danger to his/her own craft and the persons on board, shall render assistance to every person who is found at sea and in danger of being lost.

The operator of a pleasure craft has an obligation to stop and offer assistance when the operator is involved in an accident. He/she should watch for signals that show distress and need of assistance.