Safety Check Program

The Stop

Are you ready for your OPP safety check on the water? Or, more importantly, are you prepared for an emergency?

A couple of weeks ago on a humid September day we had friends in town and decided to go for a cruise on Georgian Bay in our small power boat. Since it was calm we elected to circumnavigate Parry Island from Parry Sound harbour. While rounding Bears Head at the tip of Parry Island we were surprised to be flagged down by the OPP boat for a routine safety check. It was a pleasant encounter, all aboard my vessel were wearing inflatable PFD’s and since I am writing about it you might guess correctly that we successfully passed muster.

What struck me however, as I displayed the store bought kit with the mandatory items for my 17’ boat, was how wise in might be to routinely supplement the equipment on board. I had the mandatory paddle, but I also carry a substantial anchor and rode with chain, some extra lines (the stuff in the kit could pass for twine), a fire extinguisher, small air horn, flares, VHF radio, first aid kit, extra clothing, matches, compass (some items may be mandatory for your vessel – so check the regulations. I didn’t bore, or annoy, the officers by showing them my extra gear. But I was glad to know I had it onboard.

It is easy to be complacent out there – be prepared to help yourself and others.


The Emerald Isle in Parry Sound. A candidate for a Parry Sound Power and Sail Squadron Courtesy Check?


Safety Check – Saturday July 21st

John Mason, Andy Devos and I were at Gordon Bay Marine and Hamer Bay Marine this Saturday to do courtesy safety boat checks (CPS Recreational Vessel Courtesy (RVCC) Program). This basically involves checking recreational boats to ensure they are in compliance with the mandatory safety equipment requirements. If they aren’t we let the owners know what what is required to be in compliance. Those boats that are in compliance are issued stickers for 2012 indicating they have been checked by the Canadian Power Squadron Courtesy Program. It might not help is they are stopped by the OPP, but at least they know they should pass, and where all the safety equipment is stowed.

We managed to ‘pass’ about a dozen boats while we were at the marinas. In general all the boats we checked met the applicable safety requirements. In a couple of cases where the boats were short of the necessary equipment they were able to pick up the equipment at the marina shops, and received their safety sticker. In many cases there was a little bit of a ‘hunt and seek’ process to find the equipment. That doesn’t bode well for an emergency where actions need to be taken quickly. But the courtesy check alerted them to this issue.

The most common ‘failure’ I saw with the boats did not relate to safety. Rather it concerned carrying their boat registration. This is a newer requirement and is similar to an auto vehicle registration. If you have it keep a copy on board. If you don’t you need to contact Transport Canada for a copy. They should be able to provide you with a copy of the registration document if you can give them your vessel’s registration number (the number on either side of the bow). If the boat is not registered in your name, perhaps a second hand boat purchase, they will require you to transfer the boat to your name and at the same time perhaps pay the necessary taxes. Regardless, if you are stopped by the OPP and aren’t able to produce a pleasure craft registration document you are liable for a fine of $250.

So better safe than sorry. Boat safe, stay safe.

Jo B – Communications Officer