Rules and Regulations around Watercraft Safety – motorized and human powered


Personal Watercraft (PWC) Rules

(ELLIOT LAKE, ON) – On those beautiful sunny days, most of us want to get out on the water to use our boats. Just remember that any vessel being underway that has any type of motor, requires the operator to possess a valid Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) or proof of competency equivalence.

Personal Watercraft’s (PWC), commonly referred to as “jet-skis”, are becoming more common. No persons under 16 years-of-age are permitted to operate a PWC, regardless of supervision. The operator may face a $125 fine and the owner who allowed the operation may face a $305 fine.

“Safety is paramount for all lake users – boaters, kayakers and swimmers. These rules are in place for a reason. Persons under 16 years-of-age may lack the marine experience required to operate a jet propelled water craft. These operate differently than an outboard motor driven vessel”, says Constable Phil Young of the East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Horsepower and age restrictions:

  • under 12 years-of-age may operate a boat with up to 10hp
  • 12 years-of-age to 16 years-of-age may operate a boat with up to 40hp
    under 16 years-of-age regardless of supervision shall NOT operate a personal watercraft (Sea-Doo, Jet-Ski, Waverunner)
  • 16 years-of-age and older, there are no horsepower restrictions

The OPP would like to remind operators there is a zero tolerance for alcohol/drug consumption while underway and lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD) compliance. Impaired operation on the water carries the same fines and penalties as on the highway. Help keep our waterways safe for everyone. Should you observe a suspected impaired driver, please dial 911 or contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122.


Human Powered Pleasure Craft Laws

(ELLIOT LAKE, ON) – With the nice weather in place, more people are hitting the lakes and enjoying water related activities and pleasure craft. Stand-up paddle boards (SUP) are more common today than they’ve ever been. The East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind citizens to have a safe and enjoyable summer season on the water.

Stand-up paddle boarding is a paddling activity whereby the operator navigates standing on a surf board and uses a paddle. Stand-up paddle boarding evolved out of surfing, and has become a means of navigation on water bodies across Canada, including rivers, lakes and oceans. There are rigid plastic and inflatable models.

paddleboardDid you know:

As a relatively new type of small vessel, stand-up paddleboards are not specifically referenced in the Regulations, and are therefore treated the same as other human powered pleasure craft (sit-on-top kayaks, canoes), with the same safety equipment carriage requirements.

When used for navigation, stand-up paddleboards must be equipped with the following:

  • An approved personal flotation device or lifejacket
  • 15 metres of buoyant heaving line
  • A sound-signalling device (whistle, horn), navigation lights (if the vessel is operated between sunset and sunrise)
  • A magnetic compass when operated beyond sight of seamarks
  • Non-navigation activities are not subject to the mandatory carriage of safety equipment (surfing, stand-up paddle board yoga).

In practice, the operation of stand-up paddleboards is similar to the operation of sit-on-top kayaks and other sealed-hull vessels. Currently, an exception is provided under the Regulations, stating that if every person on board a paddleboat, a water-cycle or sealed-hull, sit-on-top kayak is wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size, the paddleboat, water-cycle or kayak is required to carry on board only a sound-signalling device and, if the paddleboat, water-cycle or kayak is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility, a watertight flashlight. The exemption removes the requirement to carry 15 metres of buoyant heaving line, and motivates the wearing of personal flotation devices or lifejackets.


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