U.S. Coast Guard Requirements
- Required safety equipment on nonmotorized boats under 26 feet long:
- Personal Flotation Device
- One type of Coast Guard approved life jacket must be on board for each person on the boat. Also must have one Type V, throwable type of PFD.
Visual Distress Signal
- One orange distress flag and one electric distress light, or three hand-held or floating orange smoke signals and one electric distress light, or three combination (day/night) red flares: hand-held, meteor or parachute type.
Sound Producing Device
- A sufficient way to make a sound signal, like a whistle or an air horn, but not a human produced noise.
- Required to be displayed sunset to sunrise.
Canadian Coast RequirementsFor human powered craft (canoes, kayaks, rowboats, racing sculls, etc.):
Personal Lifesaving Appliances
1. One (1) Canadian-approved personal flotation device or lifejacket of appropriate size for each person on board
Note: A personal flotation device or lifejacket carried on board a human-powered pleasure craft operated in whitewater must be inherently buoyant.
2. One (1) buoyant heaving line at least 15 m (49’3”) long
3. One (1) reboarding device
Note: A reboarding device is only required if the vertical height that must be climbed to reboard the pleasure craft from the water is over 0.5 m (1’8”).
Only required if the pleasure craft is over 6 m
4. One (1) watertight flashlight
5. Six (6) Canadian-approved flares of Type A (Rocket Parachute), B (Multi-Star) or C (Hand)
Note: Flares are not required for a pleasure craft that:
- is operating on a river, canal or lake in which it can never be more than one (1) nautical mile (1.852 km) from shore; or
- has no sleeping quarters and is engaged in an official competition or in final preparation for an official competition.
6. One (1) bailer or manual bilge pump
Note: A bailer or manual bilge pump is not required for a pleasure craft that cannot hold enough water to make it capsize or a pleasure craft that has watertight compartments that are sealed and not readily accessible.
7. One (1) sound-signalling appliance that meets the applicable standards set out in the Collision Regulations
A sound-signalling device
8. Navigation lights that meet the requirements set out in the Collision Regulations
- Navigation lights are only required if the pleasure craft is operated after sunset, before sunrise, or in periods of restricted visibility (fog, falling snow, etc.).
- For a human-powered vessel, this requirement can be met with a watertight flashlight
You can learn more about the requirements for your pleasure craft by consulting the navigation lights section of the Safe Boating Guide
Note: A magnetic compass is not required if the pleasure craft is 8 m (26’3”) or less and is operated within sight of seamarks (navigation marks).
10. One (1) radar reflector is required under certain conditions