Boating Regulations

  • Beginning April 15, 2011, boaters taking their Pleasure Craft Operators Card test online must first pass a three hour online boating course, successfully passing questions for each learning module before proceeding to the final exam.  The final exam increases from 36 to 50 questions.

    The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations which fall within the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 require operators of pleasure craft in Canada, fitted with a motor and used for recreational purposes, to have proof of competency on board with them at all times. The regulation applies to sailboats that are fitted with auxiliary motors and to personal watercraft, not just to motorboats.

    A fine ($250, in the form of a ticket) can be levied by a law enforcement officer upon an operator who fails to show proof of competency (as prescribed within the federal Contraventions Regulations / Contraventions Act).

    Since September 15, 2009 all persons operating a pleasure craft that is fitted with a motor require proof of operator competency, regardless of that person's age, the size of the pleasure craft, or the size of the motor.

    If you've lost your PCOC, don't get in a boat until you've replaced it.  For more information on replacing a lost card, click here.

  • The Muskoka Lakes Association is passing along the Ontario Provincial Police information about present limitations when using cell phone or Internet-based technology for 9-1-1 calls.  This is to help ensure that when you call 9-1-1 for help, local emergency services will be able to find you with the least possible delay.  This is important on land and when boating on our lakes.  You need to know where you are.

    Your 9-1-1 cell phone or VOIP call may be routed to a Call Centre that is not in Muskoka.  The 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers need your exact location in order to direct the nearest police, fire or ambulance services to the emergency site.  Delays in responding may happen if you cannot provide an accurate location.  At this time with the existing technology, knowing the location from which a cellular or internet-based call is made is not guaranteed.  An automobile GPS will not give a correct location on the water. Your verbal instruction and confirmation is needed.

    The traditional 9-1-1 call system is based on use of landlines and makes sure that an emergency telephone call goes to the correct 9-1-1 Call Centre.  At the same time, the landline system automatically provides the telephone number and municipal address information so that needed emergency services can be sent to the caller, even if the person is unable to verbalize the location or nature of the emergency. 
    If you have registered your cell phone or VOIP telephone service personal location with a service provider, it is most likely that your 9-1-1 call may be made from a different location than was registered.  VOIP services can be used from any computer with high-speed Internet access and are not linked to any specific municipal address.  Your cell phone may display the phone number that is calling, and give access to a billing address, but may not give the location from which your emergency call is being made.  Consequently, good location information and the nearest agencies to the emergency site must be given verbally to the 9-1-1 call taker/dispatcher.

    To ensure the minimum possible delay when using your cell phone or VOIP to make a  Muskoka emergency 9-1-1 call, please be prepared to:
         -Give your Muskoka on-land location: include your nearest town and municipal address to enable the call taker to either handle the information or transfer you to the correct 9-1-1 Call Centre.
         -If you are calling from a boat in Muskoka or from a water access only location, give the call taker the nearest town, the name of the lake that you are on and the most accurate information for the location that you are at (i.e., a municipal address from the nearest boathouse or cottage). 
         -Advise the call taker of the nature of your emergency. 
         -Listen carefully to the call taker's instructions - depending on your location or type of incident, your call may have to be transferred to another Call Centre.
         -Give your telephone number, including the area code, so that the needed emergency services can make direct contact with you if necessary to find you. 
         -Stay on the line until advised otherwise by the call taker. 

  • Age and Horsepower Restrictions

    This applies to operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor and used for recreational purposes

    Operator Age Horsepower Restrictions
    Under 12 years of age  with no direct supervision* May operate a boat with up to 10 hp (7.5 kW)
    Ages 12 to under 16 with no direct supervision* May operate a boat with  up to 40 hp (30 kW)
    Under 16 years of age, regardless of supervision May not operate a Personal Watercraft 
    16 Years of Age or Older - No Horsepower Restrictions
    REMEMBER: Age and horsepower restrictions do not apply in the waters of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut., at this time.
    *Direct supervision means a person (16 years of age or older) is in the boat and directly supervising the operator

    When heading out in your motorized boat, make sure to bring on board:

    *Proof of Competency

    *Personal Identification

    *Pleasure craft license (for 10hp or more)