Transport Canada requires that paddlers carry certain safety items on canoes, kayaks, and even kiteboards and stand-up paddleboards. The minimum you need is a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) and sound signalling device. Required equipment varies by the type and length of your boat, and where and when you plan to paddle. If you’re not sure what you need, check with Transport Canada.
Human-powered water craft are pleasure craft that are not outfitted with a motor.
The following apply to: SUP | Wakeboard | Board Surfers | Kayak | Canoe
Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) used for navigation fall into the same category as canoes, kayaks, rowboats, rowing shells, and other human powered boats less than 6m and you are required to carry mandatory safety equipment under the Small Vessel Regulations. If you are paddling across a body of water, or getting from Point A to Point B, you are navigating.
If you are NOT navigating (park and play at the waterfront, dock, or surf wave, surf beach), then Transport Canada does not consider the SUP use as regulated vessel for mandatory equipment requirements.
- Operators of these vessels do not need proof of competency (Pleasure Craft Operator Card)
- Human-powered water craft include any pleasure craft that are operated without a motor: sailboats, sailboards, paddleboards, watercycles, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and rowing shells.
- Human-powered craft are required to carry on board certain safety equipment, as specified in the Small Vessel Regulations and the Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide.
- Operator and passenger must carry aboard or wear a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size.
- Option 1: Wear a lifejacket with a whistle.
- Option 2: Carry a lifejacket on board with whistle and a buoyant heaving line.
- A separate whistle – suggest to attach it to your PFD so it’s always handy in case you need it in an emergency.
- A watertight flashlight, if the paddleboat, watercycle, paddleboard or kayak is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.
- Use of an appropriate ankle or waistbelt leash iss recommended although not required equipment.
- Make sure you can be seen on the water. Even in bright, calm conditions a canoe or kayak can be nearly invisible. Choose bright colours such as red, yellow, or orange for your vessel and also for your flotation device.
- Keep signalling devices within hand’s reach in case of emergency.
- Sea kayakers should be aware of their environment (water temperatures, tides, currents, wind, and maritime traffic) at all times.
- Almost every paddlecraft is required to have a buoyant heaving line at least 15m long. SUPs and sit-on-top kayaks are exempt, as long as everyone on board is wearing an approved PFD.Throwlines are great for whitewater paddlers, but are rarely used by sea kayakers or lake canoeists. Many non-whitewater paddlers carry a combination throwline-towline. A towline is useful for most craft-to-craft rescues in open water, and for towing tired paddlers. If you’re paddling on the ocean, make sure the hardware is saltwater safe.
Operating Human Powered Craft
Safety tips and requirements for paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and other human-powered watercraft.
Safe Boating Guide
Learn more about safe and responsible boating practices. Make sure that you know the requirements and understand the regulations that apply to boating.
Choosing A Life Jacket
Choosing the right life jacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is very important for keeping you and your onboard guests safe. Here are some tips on choosing the right one for adults and children.