The Transport Canada Canoe Regulations for Sea Kayakers

Different states have different types of regulations overseeing the usage of Kayaks, boats, and small vessels in the sea. It is upon the user to understand and adhere to these kayak safety rules to avoid arrest by the Coast Guards responsible for overseeing water usage. Besides, lack of adherence can be fatal leading to hypothermia attack, physical injuries, or death. For example, in the USA paddlers has gone missing only for the bodies to be retrieved.

3 Laws and Regulations Governing Kayaking In the Sea Of Canada

There are three types of regulations governing the small vessels operating in the high seas namely,

  • Small Vessel Regulations
  • Collision Regulations
  • VHF Radiotelephony Practices and Procedures Regulations

Transport Canada is the government department mandated by the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to oversee all pleasure boating.  Kayaks under the act are subjected to the Small Vessel Regulations. The regulations further divide kayaks into two with different sets of rules. The grouping takes into account the size or length of the Kayak, namely, Kayaks crafts measuring less than six meters in length and Kayaks craft measuring more than six meters but less than 8 meters in length.

Small Vessel Regulations

If your Kayak falls with the categories of lengths mentioned above, you are required to abide by the regulations and equip your boat with the following kayak equipment.

Kayaks Measuring up to of 6 Meters Long

Kayak PFD

Before boarding a boat, a paddler must have the lifejackets or personal floating devices on. The clothing must adhere to the Coast Guard requirements. Ensure that what you wear is comfortable and in good shape at all times. Moreover, the recommended lifesaver jackets should be visible from far, short in size with side pockets for storage of distress flares, radios, and whistles devices. There are various types of personal floating devices to choose and it is advisable to a long-lasting and effective clothing to keep you afloat when your boat is flipped.


The small vessels rules and regulations require a boat to have a floating throwline or throwbag for ease of rescue. Ensure that the line measures not less than 15 meters long to keep you safe from arrest.

The Paddle

The regulations stipulate that a user must have a manual device to propel the boat. However, you are at liberty to select the type of kayak paddle for the adventure, such as wooden, aluminum oar, plastic or a combination of both. The regulations also allow a paddler to choose between unfeathered or feathered depending on your preference and the budget.

Drying Gadget

A piece of clothing for water removal from the Kayak. Also, a bailer or a water pump is effective for those with the budgets. It is recommended to buy a pump due to efficiency and effectiveness in pumping water from the boat. After use remember to have them tied somewhere where you can reach them easily.

A Sound Device

Carry with you sound signaling equipment to help in sending out a distress call when stranded or getting drifted away. There are several sound equipment to choose from, such as the whistle, a foghorn or compressed air foghorn.

Darkness Light

Also known as the navigation lights are a requirement by the regulations for the small vessels to have. You are required to use the lights during sunrise, sunset, and there is poor visibility. A gadget beaming white light over 3600 is the most preferred as it can be spotted from all angle. If your pockets are limited, buy the water light flash flashlight equipment.

Rules for Kayaks Measuring 6 to 8 meters long

They are to adhere to all the requirement for boats measuring six meters. Besides, they must have a waterproof flashlight and six type A, B or C Flares. Conversely, Kayaks in rivers, lakes, and canals are not subjected to the usage of flares. This is as a result that at no time the boat will be one mile from the shoreline.

Collision Regulations

The regulations apply for the sea kayaks and expect any vessels to use any available means to avoid a head-on collision. The regulations specify all procedures to follow, distances to respect, kayaking speed and utilization of sound and light equipment devices. It is documented that Kayaks aren’t visible to objects that are “more than two nautical miles away” while Kayaking in the sea, a large vessels take up to four minutes to cover the tow miles which can cost you your life. Therefore, it is advisable to be alert and stay visible at all times. For more, you can consult the transport act.

The Radiotelephone Regulations

All operation and adherence are enforced by Industry Canada. Any person having or intending to have a radio gadget must have a clearance certificate from the authority permitting you to use the equipment. It is a requirement for Kayakers who regularly paddle in the sea to have VHF but having the equipment without approval is against the law. Remember, that without a license you are breaking the law even though you have the right gadget at the right time.

Lastly, for detailed rules and regulations attempt to read the laws to Kayak safely. For foreigners Kayakers visiting Canada, it is advisable to seek the help of Canadian Coast Guards authorities to avoid running into problems. Kayaking in the sea is fun but more pleasurable without interruption from the authorities that you are flouting the rules.

As a kayaker, you have to maintain visibility at all times. Besides, you must be aware that Kayak is a small craft invisible to other water users, and as a result, you must stay visible for others to spot you. Avoid channel crossing in the sea as the Kayak speed cannot outdo the speed boats and other big vessels. Hope with that you are going to enjoy your sea kayaking in the Canadian high waters and elsewhere in the world. Remember that safety first.

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