To find your way and be spotted, the basics of safe boating

Going on the water is certainly a relaxing and pleasant experience. Feeling alone in the world is a unique feeling, which can become a danger when something unexpected happens. This is why it is better to know what to do e in the event of a misadventure.


Visual signals

Your waterproof flashlight is one of the best ways to send a distress signal. Before leaving, make sure the batteries are functional. Flares are also very useful to make you’re noticed. Choose those that are approved by Transport Canada and check their expiry date – they are valid for four years after the purchase date. Keep them upright in a cool, waterproof place and use them according to the manufacturer's instructions, depending on their type. You can find more details on their use in the Safe Boating Guide (pages 25-27). You can also consult the requirements for navigation lights here.


Radar reflectors, on the other hand, allow large boats to spot the smaller ones. The reflectors must be large enough and properly installed so that you can be clearly identified.


Make some noise

A device attached to the boat or simply a whistle or horn can allow you to emit audible signals so that you can be located.


GPS: three letters that can save your life

GPS for marine use is currently the main system for navigating a body of water. In the event of a problem or break down of your boat, you can find your position thanks to the map that can be integrated into it or, in some cases, is already integrated in the GPS. Maps can be downloaded from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


The magnetic compass

The magnetic compass is essential when visibility is reduced. It will help you stay on course! But be careful, if it is near metal or electrical devices, its data may be distorted.




cartebateau.com (in French only)

Transport Canada



The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under licence by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies. Text