The “Rules of the Road” on Canada’s waterways help boaters avoid collisions by outlining what each boater must do to avoid hitting another vessel or being the victim of a collision. This is not just a matter of courtesy, it is set out in the Collision Regulations.
This regulation applies to small boats up to large freighters. Constantly lookout for other vessels on the water. If you are maneuvering near large vessels, remember that it is more difficult for their operator to see you or to change their course to avoid you. The time it takes to stop is also longer. These are good reasons to give way to them. Some boaters do not realize the risk they take when crossing a navigation route or passing a large vessel.
Priority with a boat overtaking another
The overtaking vessel must act early and evidently in such a way as to move well away from the overtaken vessel to avoid a collision. When a vessel cannot determine with certainty whether it is overtaking another, it should regard itself as a vessel overtaking another and maneuver accordingly.
Any change of course or speed to avoid a collision must be significant enough to be immediately perceived by any vessel observing it visually or by radar. A series of small changes in the heading or speed, or both at the same time, should be avoided.
Maneuvers to avoid collision with another vessel must be such as to allow sufficient distance to pass. The effectiveness of the maneuvers must be carefully monitored until the other vessel is definitely clear.
If necessary, a pleasure craft should reduce its speed to avoid another boat.
Priority between two crossing boats
When two motorboats make routes which intersect such that there is a risk of collision, the boat approaching the other vessel on the starboard side shall move out of the way and, if circumstances permit, avoid crossing paths ahead.
As for the priority between two boats which meet face to face, the rule is simple. The captain of each of the boats must stay to the right.
The Sûreté du Québec on the water
(From the Sûreté du Québec side, their spokesperson, Valérie Beauchamp emphasizes that the patrollers of the Sûreté du Québec carry out prevention activities by circulating prevention advice by way of press release, by holding a kiosk during events such as the boat show, by encounters at the port and interventions on the water. In addition, they work with various partners such as the Association maritime du Québec (AMQ), the Canadian Nautical Safety Council (CNSC) and the Lifesaving Society Quebec to raise awareness among pleasure craft operators and boaters of the rules in effect and of the conduct to be adopted to prevent a tragedy from occurring.
If you are maneuvering near large vessels, remember that it is more difficult for their operator to see you or to change their course to avoid you.