Canada Boating Laws and Regulations Restrictions that apply to pleasure craft

Age/Horsepower restrictions

Youth under 16 years of age may not operate boats with motors over certain horsepower limits unless someone 16 years of age or older is in the boat and directly supervising them. Youth under 16 years of age may not operate a personal watercraft (PWC) under any circumstances.

  • Under 12 years of age with no direct supervision, a person may operate a boat with up to 7.5 kW (10 hp);

  • Ages 12 to under 16 with no direct supervision, a person may operate a boat with up to 30 kW (40 hp)

  • Under 16 years of age, regardless of supervision may not operate a PWC

  • 16 years of age or older: no horsepower restrictions

 
Age and horsepower restrictions

Speed Restrictions

Some provinces have adopted speed limits of 10 km/h within 30 m (98’5”) of shore on all waters within their boundaries. This speed limit applies in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the inland waters of British Columbia and Nova Scotia. This limit is in effect whether it is posted or not. Exceptions include:

  • recreational towing where the boat follows a path at a 90° angle to the shore in an area designated by buoys for recreational towing;

  • rivers less than 100 m (328’) wide, as well as canals and buoyed channels;

  • waters where another speed limit is set in a schedule to the regulations.

In certain areas, the boating restriction regulations can limit a pleasure craft’s maximum horsepower. It is important to inquire about restrictions. The operator must respect the limits, whether they are posted or not. To find out where restrictions apply, consult the Vessel Operation Restrictions.

Speed limit restriction

Local Restrictions

Local restrictions have been placed on some Canadian waterways to promote public safety. Boaters are responsible for knowing and complying with these restrictions. Vessel operation restriction signs come in five shapes. The colour of the frame is international orange. When part of a sign has a green border, a special condition applies to the restriction. The symbol tells you the type of restriction that applies. If the sign is arrow-shaped, the restriction applies in the direction of the arrow. Know what these signs mean.

Speed limit restriction sign

Speed limit restriction sign

No power driven vessel restriction sign

No power driven vessel restriction sign

Power limit restriction sign

Power limit restriction sign

No skiing north of the restriction sign

No skiing north of the restriction sign