Where to Go Boating
John Gullick, CPS-ECP, Manager of Government and Special Programs
I often get asked from CPS-ECP members and non-members: Where is s good place to go boating in my area?
This is a difficult question for any one person to answer because we are usually only familiar with local or regional areas where we personally boat or boat with friends.
Let me start by saying that first and foremost we all need to be boating safely wherever and however we do, power, sail or paddle. We also need to be aware of the waters that we boat in and to that end we need to carry up-to-date charts unless we are boating in an area we are personally very familiar with, including all of the aids to navigation, helpful landmarks and safe waters. The requirement to carry up-to-date copies of those charts is the law. If you don’t an enforcement officer may ask you to describe the area where you are boating and if you can’t answer those questions to the officer’s satisfaction then you could be charged.
For information about local Canadian Hydrographic charts and where to purchase them go to: www.charts.gc.ca or call 1 866 546 3613.
CPS-ECP member sailing and boating magazines like Canadian Yachting and Pacific Yachting regularly feature articles about boating destinations and are an excellent resource.
Our great country has hundreds of thousands of navigable lakes, rivers and streams and you can find maritime cruising guides for every province and region across the country that all give detailed information about their cruising areas.
Here is a short list of possible provincial cruising guides:
- Atlantic Canada Cruising Guides: www.nauticalmind.com, www.maritimeboating.com or www.ca.binnicle.com
- Cruising Guide to the St Lawrence River and Quebec Waterways: www.bluewaterweb.com
- Ports Cruising Guide for Ontario Great Lakes: www.portbooks.com (CPS-ECP Members save 10% and get free shipping). Learn more here.
- Digital guides for Discover Trent-Severn, Rideau Canal and Georgian Bay & The North Channel.
- Cruising Lake Winnipeg: www.grindstonepark.ca
- Guidebooks and Publications – Ahoy BC: www.ahoybc.com or www.trawlerforum.com
I would also suggest joining a national boating or sailing member organization like Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, Sail Canada or Paddle Canada. Local members of these types of organizations can provide great information about their boating experiences and they often conduct area boating trips and events. It is always more fun, and safer, to boat in a group.
In closing I would recommend that you check the local marine weather forecast before you go and be aware of changing weather patters. Consider taking a Weather course by going to www.cps-ecp.ca and check out all the offered courses and seminars. Something to help keep your enjoyable boating experiences going all year long.