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Requirements for pleasure craft involved in competition

A Pleasure craft and its crew, engaged in racing may carry alternative safety equipment when engaged in formal training, an official competition or final preparation for an official competition. Read on to see if your event or training sessions qualify for this exemption.

Official competition: a competition or regatta organized by a governing body, a club or an organization affiliated with a governing body.

Formal training: practice for an official competition under the supervision of a coach or official certified by a governing body.

Final preparation for an official competition: activities to prepare for the competition that take place at the competition venue and during the times specified by the organizer of the competition.

Governing body: a water sport governing body that publishes rules and criteria respecting conduct and safety requirements during skill demonstrations, formal training or official competitions and that:

  • certifies coaches and coaching programs
  • certifies officials and programs for officials; or
  • recommends training and safety guidelines for certified coaches or officials.

Safety craft: a boat, aircraft or other means of transport with a crew on board that is used for surveillance and lifeguarding activities during formal training or official competitions.

Alternative equipment for racing canoes, racing kayaks and rowing shells

A racing canoe or racing kayak that is engaged in formal training, in an official competition or in final preparation for an official competition that is governed by safety guidelines and procedures established by the governing body is not required to carry on board the safety equipment required by the Small Vessel Regulations if it is attended by a safety craft that is carrying on board a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size:

  1. for each person on board the canoe or kayak, if the safety craft is attending only one pleasure craft; or
  2. for each person on board the canoe or kayak with the most persons on board, if the safety craft is attending more than one pleasure craft.

If the canoe or kayak is not attended by a safety craft, it is required to carry on board the following safety equipment:

  1. a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size for each person on board;
  2. a sound-signalling device ; and
  3. a watertight flashlight, if the canoe or kayak is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.

rowing shell that is competing in a provincially, nationally or internationally sanctioned regatta or competition, or engaged in training at the venue at which the regatta or competition is taking place, is not required to carry on board the safety equipment required by the Small Vessel Regulations

A rowing shell that is engaged in activities governed by safety guidelines and procedures established by the governing body is not required to carry on board the safety equipment required by this Part if it is attended by a safety craft that is carrying on board a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size

  1. for each person on board the rowing shell, if the safety craft is attending only one rowing shell; or
  2. for each person on board the rowing shell with the most persons on board, if the safety craft is attending more than one rowing shell.

If the rowing shell is not attended by a safety craft, it is required to carry on board only the following safety equipment:

  1. a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size for each person on board;
  2. a sound-signalling device; and
  3. a watertight flashlight, if the canoe or kayak is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.

Alternative equipment for racing-type pleasure craft

Racing-type pleasure craft (other than racing canoes, kayaks or rowing shells) engaged in formal training, in an official competition or in final preparation for an official competition, operated under conditions of clear visibility, and is attended by a safety craft, may carry on board the safety equipment that is required by the rules of the governing body instead of the safety equipment required by the Small Vessel Regulations.

Personal protection equipment

About 90 percent of people who drown in recreational boating incidents are not wearing a flotation devices. A lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is the best insurance you can have. Find one that suits your needs and wear it.

By law, pleasure craft must have enough Canadian approved flotation devices of the appropriate size for everyone on board. You can choose between lifejackets and PFDs. Remember, lifesaving cushions are not approved as personal flotation equipment on any vessel.