Diving is a popular water activity so keep an eye out for diving flags at all times. Keeping a vigilant lookout is especially important because vessel wake, weather and other factors make it even more difficult to spot surface bubbles from those underwater. Know what these diver down flags look like.
Vessels engaged in diving operations must display the international blue and white Code Flag Alpha. A red and white flag that may also be carried on a buoy marks the area where diving is in progress, although divers may stray from the boundaries of the marked areas.
When you see either flag, keep clear of the vessel and diving site and move ahead slowly and with caution.
Some operators do not realize the gamble they take when they cut across shipping lanes or in front of larger vessels. These vessels probably will not see you until it is too late, so apply these codes of conduct when boating.
If you are part of a local group, association or municipality and you feel a restriction may be needed in your area, contact a Transport Canada Centre. Before your request can be considered for addition to the Boating Restriction Regulations, the need for establishing such a restriction should be assessed and public consultation will be held at the local level.
Once a boating restriction is in place it is enforceable (Sanctions are in the form of tickets or summons) by:
Read the formal language of the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.
There are five shapes associated with boating restriction signs. The colour of the frame is international orange. Signs with a section with a green border tell you a special condition applies to the restriction. The symbol on the sign indicates the type of restriction that applies. If the sign is arrow-shaped, the restriction applies in the direction pointed by the arrow. Know what these signs mean.
No power vessels
No internal combustion
or steam engine permitted
Standardized speed limit
(normally 5, 10, 25, 40, 55)
No power driven vessels or vessels driven
by electrical propulsion in the direction
indicated by the arrow
(no skiing and speed limit)
No skiing north of the sign
No power driven vessels
or vessels driven by electrical propulsion
during the hours and on days in red
Provinces from Ontario, westward to and including British Columbia (inland waters only in British Columbia) have adopted province-wide restrictions limiting speed to 10 km/h within 30 m (98’ 5”) from shore on all waters within their boundaries, except for:
This limit is not posted.
When visiting one of Canada’s historic canals make sure your boat has good mooring lines and securely fastened floating fenders in sufficient numbers and size.
There are a number of activities prohibited while in a canal, some being:
Visit Parks Canada for information on historic canals.
Obey the posted speed limits and mind your boat’s wake, especially when approaching a lock (wake limits have precedence over speed limits). Other things to remember:
When the lock gates open, wait for staff to direct you to restart your engine. Make sure all lines are returned to your boat and exit slowly and in order if necessary. Watch out for wind, currents and other vessels.
Procedures for using the St. Lawrence Seaway locks differ from those outlined here. Consult the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority’s Pleasure Craft Guide, available from:
202 Pitt Street
Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System
Operators should be cautious near canal dams and waste weirs where currents and undertows can be very dangerous. It is illegal to jump, dive, scuba dive, swim or bathe within 40 m (131') of a dam.