Stay safe—and at a distance—when boating this season

May 14, 2020

As boating season begins and more people are sharing the waterways, it’s critical to follow safe boating practices to ensure everyone’s safety on the water. The port authority is reminding boaters to take caution around human-powered water craft, be sure to follow the recommended speed restrictions, and watch your wake! This season, being safe on the water also includes following the safe physical distancing guidance from Transport Canada and health authorities when planning outings on the water.

Review these safe boating reminders before setting sail:

  1. Follow safe, physical distancing guidelines – Transport Canada has shared guidelines for COVID-19 Physical Distancing for Canadian Boaters. Only take boaters from your immediate household with you on your boat and keep a distance of at least two metres from other boats and people who don’t live in your household.
  2. Pay attention to your surroundings – Always be aware of other boaters around you, including those on kayaks and paddle boards.
  3. Monitor official radio channels – Be sure to comply with the restricted areas and remember, five or more short and rapid blasts of a ship’s whistle means “danger – stay clear.” Monitor VHF (Very High Frequency) 16 on your radio at all times. In Burrard Inlet monitor VHF 12 and on the Fraser River 74.
  4. Check current conditions– Check weather, tide, currents and water levels before you head out.
  5. Boating at night is different– If you decide to go boating after dark, be sure to have the proper lighting and safety equipment on board. Take extra precaution and go slower.
  6. Go slowly–  Make sure you adhere to the mandatory 15-knot speed restrictions.
  7. Be prepared and consult official publications –Ensure you have the correct, updated nautical charts for the area in which you are operating and refer to the Port Information Guide for specific local requirements and traffic control zone procedures.
  8. Never get between a tugboat and its tow– Tow cables are often submerged and not visible.

If you’re lucky, you may see whales, dolphins or porpoises while you’re out on the water this season. Recreational boaters are encouraged to report any marine mammal sightings using the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network’s WhaleReport app. Real-time information on whale presence is shared with the operators of commercial ships and ferries, enabling them to slow down or alter their course to reduce the risk of disturbance or collision.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is responsible for maintaining the safe and efficient movement of marine traffic within the Port of Vancouver.

All vessels operating within Canada’s waterways are governed by the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and are subject to collision regulations. In addition, Canada’s Criminal Code also applies to boating. These laws ensure the waterways remain safe for all users.

For more information, visit to review the safe boating guides for the Burrard Inlet and Fraser River.

Further information:

About the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority:

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency responsible for the stewardship of the Port of Vancouver. Like all Canada Port Authorities, we are accountable to the federal minister of transport, and operate pursuant to the Canada Marine Act with a mandate to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, while protecting the environment and considering local communities. The port authority is structured as a non-share corporation, is financially self-sufficient and does not rely on tax dollars for operations. Our revenues come from port terminals and tenants who lease port lands, and from port users who pay various fees such as harbour dues. Profits are reinvested in port infrastructure. The port authority has control over the use of port land and water, which includes more than 16,000 hectares of water, over 1,500 hectares of land, and approximately 350 kilometres of shoreline. Located on the southwest coast of British Columbia in Canada, the Port of Vancouver extends from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to and including Burrard Inlet, bordering 16 municipalities and intersecting the traditional territories and treaty lands of several Coast Salish First Nations. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo. Enabling the trade of approximately $240 billion in goods with more than 170 world economies, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.

Media contact:

Danielle Jang
Manager, Strategic Communications
[email protected]

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