Near Shore Speed Limits

It is Your Legal Responsibility to Operate Your Boat at a Safe Speed and Be Aware of Your Wake

Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide offers the following statements regarding the operation of boats at a safe speed and a boat operator’s responsibility for any damages caused by a vessels wake:

Be Aware and Polite
Never buzz, try to spray swimmers, or cut in front of or try to jump the wake of other vessels. Some of the worst boating incidents happen when speed or distance is misjudged.

Operate at a Safe Speed
You may have to stop or turn suddenly to avoid a collision, so operate at a safe speed. A safe speed depends on:

  • your ability to see ahead – slow is the only safe speed in fog, mist, rain and darkness;
  • current wind and water conditions;
  • how quickly your boat can change direction;
  • how many and what types of vessels are near you; and
  • the presence of navigation hazards such as rocks and tree stumps.

Be very careful when boating where visibility is poor, such as entering or exiting a fog bank.

Responsibility for Damages Caused by Wake
A boat’s wake can damage other vessels, docks and shoreline. It can also be a risk for swimmers, divers and people in small boats that might capsize. Be aware of how your boat’s wake might affect others when choosing your speed. You will be responsible for any damages or harm you cause.

Province – Wide Shoreline Speed Limits
Some provinces have adopted speed limits of 10 km/h within 30 m (98’5”) of shore on all waters within their boundaries. This speed limit applies in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the inland waters of British Columbia and Nova Scotia. This limit is in effect whether it is posted or not. Exceptions include:

  • recreational towing where the boat follows a path at a 90 degree angle to the shore in an area designated by buoys for recreational towing;
  • rivers less than 100 m (328’) wide, as well as canals and buoyed channels; and
  • waters where another speed limit is set in a schedule to the regulations.

Want to learn more about boating and navigation rules? Register for a CanBoat Boating Course near you.