LAWS AND COURTESY 4.7

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, the operator of a pleasure craft can not operate that craft in a manner that is dangerous to the public.

  • Pleasure craft must stay well clear of swimmers and properties.

  • Pleasure craft operators are responsible for their vessel's wash. Make sure you operate your craft in a such a manner that your wash does not cause injury to people, erosion of the shoreline, or damage to properties.

  • Pleasure craft operators must adhere to the Collision Regulations.

  • It is imperative that operators use courtesy and common sense so that they do not create a hazard, a threat, a stress, or an irritant to themselves, to others, to the environment, or to wildlife.

 

- - - Speed - - -

As a pleasure craft operator it is your responsibility to operate your vessel in a safe and prudent manner at a speed from which you can exercise proper and effective action to avoid collision.

You must proceed at a speed that is reasonable for the conditions.

Conditions to consider include the following:

  • the state of visibility

  • the traffic density including commercial fishing vessels (which you must remain clear of) and any other vessels

  • the state of the wind

  • sea and current

  • the proximity of navigational aids

It is important to slow down in bad weather to reduce the risk of injury and accident.

Any increase in speed means that it will take longer for the boat to stop. It also means that you, as the operator, must be more attentive because you have less time to respond to changing conditions.

Be aware of local speed limits. In Ontario, for example, it is illegal to travel more than 10 km/h within 100 feet of shore except in some circumstances. There are other speed zones as well.

Boating Restriction Regulations set out guidelines for areas of restricted boating, power and speed.

Operators of pleasure craft not in sight of other vessels, in or near an area of restricted visibility, shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.

- - - Careless Operation - - -

With the introduction of the Contraventions Act, many offences that were previously listed under the Criminal Code of Canada, will now result in fines, instead of a criminal charge.

Careless Operation, under the Small Vessel Regulations, is an offense that will bring charges.

The regulation reads, "No person shall operate a small vessel in a careless manner Laws & Courtesy without due care or without reasonable consideration for other persons."

Among other things, an operator can be charged with Careless Operation, if, as a result of excess speed their wash adversely affects:

  • other vessels including anchored vessels, grounded vessels, vessels tied to docks, wrecks, dredges, tows, rowboats or canoes

  • work being passed

  • the shoreline

  • docks or floats

  • wetlands

  • other waterway users such as swimmers, or users of bathing beaches

  • where divers are working

  • an area of anchorage

The Collision Regulations state that you must be a prudent operator at all times based on the prevailing conditions and local restrictions.

You are responsible for any damage or discomfort your boat causes to wildlife, people, objects and the shoreline.

You must take into account all other circumstances as you govern the operation of your vessel.

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