Sept-Îles Lake: A pilot project for safer, more environmentally-friendly recreational boating

From Transport Canada

A mother and her two young boys wait on their boat while a boating safety officer adjusts the red and blue life jacket of one of the boys.

Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety is responsible for the regulatory framework governing recreational boating. The Pleasure Craft Courtesy Check Program is a key activity for the Office of Boating Safety that promotes and increases awareness among boaters of boating safety and safety issues in the context of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

The Pleasure Craft Courtesy Check Program is provided free of charge and is very popular with recreational boaters and participating municipalities. The Program is offered in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard’s Inshore Rescue Boat Service and the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, which covers the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers.

Statistical analysis of boating incidents in recent years shows a greater vulnerability on inland waterways compared to bigger waterways, such as the St. Lawrence River. Because of this, the team at the Office of Boating Safety, in Transport Canada’s Quebec Region, under the direction of Sophie Noël, felt there was a need to expand their partnerships in order to extend the Pleasure Craft Courtesy Check Program to inland waterways.

Following significant engagement and consultation with select municipalities in the Greater Quebec City area, the municipalities of Saint-Raymond (Sept-Îles Lake); Fossambault-sur-le-Lac; Lac Saint-Joseph; and Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier —with the participation of the Jacques-Cartier regional county municipality (Lake Saint-Joseph) — agreed to work with Transport Canada to offer the Program in their areas. The Canadian Red Cross also decided to incorporate the Program into its regular activities related to waterways in the Mauricie and Lac-Saint-Jean regions.

Transport Canada-trained students to carry out boater awareness activities, which include performing courtesy inspections, explaining the regulatory requirements relative to boating safety, and providing information on specific characteristics of the waterways that recreational boaters use or plan to use. The students also promote the importance and utility of nautical charts, and answer boaters’ questions.

In 2016, more than 2,000 boats were inspected in the Quebec Region and Transport Canada student inspectors met with between 5,000 and 6,000 recreational boaters. These numbers are expected to increase in 2017 as a result of various new initiatives implemented this year.

The Office of Boating Safety, Quebec Region, is pleased to have new partners who, like Transport Canada, are committed to continually improving safety and protecting lives, health, property and the marine environment through education and increased awareness.

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