Standard for PFD Wear

"The CSBC believes that all operators of all sizes and types of kayaks, canoes and self-propelled vessels and all types of other craft that are 6 meters or less in length, while passengers are on deck and while the boat is underway, should wear lifejackets or PFDs."

In 2008 CSBC began approaching organizations involved in boating and asked them the following questions.

  • Do you agree that the above statement is a good ‘best practice'?
  • Can your organization support this statement or can you tell us what is your policy in regards to PFD wear?
  • Do you think the time is right for the federal government to incorporate the above statement into mandatory wear legislation?

Since that time, many organizations have responded with positive input about the need for lifejacket wear in small open boats. As we continue through 2011, the CSBC will continue to seek input from organizations and individuals for their position on this important issue. Sample letters are attached. Electronic versions can be obtained by contacting Barbara Byers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The CSBC urges you to provide feedback. The CSBC will continue to work with organzations, associations and companies to compile their feelings on this important subject.


In 2002, the Canadian Safe Boating Council struck a Lifejacket/Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Taskforce to review and develop options concerning increased PFD use for recreational boaters in small craft. In October of that year, the Taskforce contracted with SMARTRISK, to develop a research paper summarizing the best available evidence, pro and con, pertaining to mandatory lifejacket/PFD use. The Research Paper, "Will it float? was presented by SMARTRISK at the 2003 CSBC Symposium.

Please provide any feedback to: Bob Minielly, Chair CSBC This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5 Key Steps to Safer Boating

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Wear Your Lifejacket

Legally you must carry one on board, appropriately sized for each passenger. But don’t just carry it, WEAR IT.

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Boat Sober

Boating under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription narcotics, is illegal, irresponsible and potentially deadly. Leave any such substances until you return to the dock.

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Take a Boating Course

The law requires that anyone operating a power-driven boat must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card OR other accredited proof of competency and it must be carried on board.

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Be Prepared - You and Your Vessel

Ensure your boat has all the required safety gear and sufficient fuel. Be sure the weather is suitable for your vessel’s capabilities.

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Be Cold Water Safe

Cold water is a significant risk. Learn how to protect yourself.