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RCMP and U.S. Coast Guard Join Forces

July 19th, 2013 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice |    7   comments

sailing.jpgWith a long stretch of sunshine on its way, you’re ready to celebrate summer. A boat, a case of beer, plenty of sunscreen and you’re set, right? While you’re on the water, you may be visited by an RCMP ship, with a U.S. Coast Guard officer aboard. Under the new “Shiprider” program, British Columbia and Washington State are teaming up to secure local waterways.

So, whether you’re sailing off Haida Gwaii or the San Juans, they will ensure you comply with local laws and regulations. Those rules govern whether you may drink that case of beer. Under B.C. regulations, you may only consume alcohol aboard a pleasure craft if it has permanent sleeping and cooking facilities, a permanent toilet, and is anchored or secured alongside a dock. Does that sound like your speedboat or sailboat? Probably not.

In both Washington and B.C. operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol is punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to 90 days.

While younger children may operate some recreation vessels unsupervised, you must be 16 or older to operate a personal watercraft with more than 40 hp. Regardless of age, you’ll need proof of competency to operate your boat. Acceptable proofs include:

  • A pleasure craft operator card
  • A specified marine certificate
  • proof of having passed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999

Renting a boat? Filling out a boating safety checklist will do as proof.

For detailed safety guidelines, check out Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide. The guide recommends that you:

  • inspect your boat before departure
  • monitor the weather
  • make and file a sail plan
  • carry and use official nautical plans and publications (legally required)
  • avoid local hazards, such as underwater cables
  • fuel up safely, avoiding leaks and spills
  • beware of carbon monoxide, propane and butane build up, especially below deck or even under swim platforms
  • use ignition-protected electric devices, to prevent sparking onboard fuels
  • respect your boat’s load limits


Other sources:

Boating Regulations, Travel British Columbia

Rules on the Water, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office

Chapter 79A.60 RCW Regulation of Recreational Vessels


Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.


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