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Transport Canada Releases COVID-19 Guidelines for Boating Industry

By: Scott Way


Transport Canada has released its list of COVID-19 protocols for pleasure craft operators who are beginning to access Canadian waterways. The 2020 summer season will see notable changes across the industry and individual boaters are being asked to prioritize safety and practice social distancing during their interactions on the water. Be advised there is variation from province to province with respect to accessibility and availability of waterways, so it's recommended you verify the access to your waterway/lake/launch ramp/marina as provincial and regional authorities have discretion over their properties. The guidelines for pleasurecraft operators may also vary from province to province, so check with your individual provincial standards before accessing any waterway.

The keynote recommendations from Transport Canada are as follows:

  • Wear a lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

  • Ensure your pleasure craft is in good working order and properly equipped before heading out on the water

  • Limit the length of your trips as much as possible, departing and returning to the same location and avoiding stops along the way.

  • If using a pleasure craft, avoid any unnecessary contact with others during your trip and respect your local health authority's measures with respect to the size and make-up of your boating group;

  • A distance of at least 2 metres should be kept from other people and boats as much as possible; and

  • Face coverings and non-medical masks can be useful for short periods of time, when physical distancing is not possible in public settings.

  • Keep a safe distance to shore at all times.

  • Avoid using your pleasure craft during bad weather and extreme temperatures.

  • Limit using your pleasure craft to daylight hours.

  • Keep a distance of at least 2 metres as much as possible and avoid using boat ramps and docks while other people are on them.

  • Refrain from beaching your boat right next to someone else.

  • Avoid sharing your boating or fishing equipment/

You can read the full list of guidelines is available on the Government of Canada website.

You can also get helpful information from individual provincial resources like Boating BC, Boating Ontario, and Boating Atlantic.

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