Diamond and Diamond BC
B.C. Offices

Langley Consultation Office

8661 201 Street, 2nd Floor

Richmond Consultation Office

5811 Cooney Road Suite 305 South Tower

Burnaby Consultation Office

4720 Kingsway Suite 2600

Kelowna Consultation Office

1631 Dickson Avenue Suite 1100

Surrey Consultation Office

7404 King George Blvd. Suite 200

Vancouver Head Office

1727 West Broadway, Suite 400


Brampton Consultation Office

341 Parkhurst Square, Suite 5

Etobicoke Consultation Office

34 Greensboro Dr 2nd Floor

Toronto Head Office

255 Consumers Road, 5th Floor

Toronto Main Office

5075 Yonge Street, Suite 805

Sudbury Consultation Office

144 Elm Street, Suite 201

Peterborough Consultation Office

459 George Street North

Ottawa Main Office

1081 Carling Avenue, Suite 704

Mississauga Office

2155 Leanne Blvd #113

London Main Office

256 Pall Mall St, Suite 102

Hamilton Consultation Office

105 Main Street East, Suite 1500

Barrie Main Office

17 Poyntz Avenue

Windsor Main Office

13158 Tecumseh Rd. E. Unit 3B

Thunder Bay Consultation Office

278 Algoma Street South


Calgary Consultation Office

909 17th Avenue SW, 4th Floor

Edmonton Head Office

4246 97 Street NW, Unit 100


Canoe and Kayak Safety

Unfortunately, roughly 100 people will die in boating accidents every year, and many more individuals will be severely injured. Thankfully, however, most boating deaths and injuries can be avoided by following simple safety tips.

Canoes and kayaks are referred to as “human-powered water crafts,” in British Columbia, which means that the requirements to operate these vessels are significantly less than boats with motors. Nonetheless, some of the same safety requirements should be used to ensure that everyone stays safe while they are having fun.

Required Safety Gear for Canoes

Transport Canada requires that you have specific safety gear, but certain types of canoeing will require additional safety equipment as well. The basic required safety gear includes:

  • An approved personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket for everyone on the craft
  • A bailing device (such as a bucket or other item that can be used to bail water from the canoe)
  • A sound-making device (many PFDs are equipped with whistles)
  • A minimum 15-metre buoyant heaving line (such as a rope with a throw bag on it)
  • A light, if you are canoeing at night, dawn, or dusk

You should have all of these items stored in a place that you can access quickly in the event of an emergency. Although it is not required, it is always a good idea to wear your PFD or life jacket while you canoe.

Recommended Safety Gear for Canoeing

Although the law does not oblige these items, the Recreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia recommends the following safety equipment as well.

  • A complete spare change of clothing and other essential items in a waterproof container
  • Floating polypropylene ropes (painters) at each end of the canoe (for lining around rapids, securing the boat, and for rescues)
  • A spare paddle
  • Additional river gear, depending on the type of canoeing you are doing (helmet, river rescue gear, extra flotation devices, )

Essential Safety Gear for Kayaks

Kayaks can be a great way to get exercise and enjoy nature. However, they can also be dangerous as well. Kayaks are subject to the rules found in the Small Vessel Regulations. As such, you should be sure to have the following required safety items:

  • A spray skirt
  • A paddle bladder or float (and be sure to practice how to use it!)
  • A spare paddle (a two-part paddle works great)
  • A chart or topographical map that can be attached to the kayak
  • A graph ruler or spare compass
  • A first aid kit

Other safety items, such as waterproof barrels, binoculars, a VHF radio, and radar reflectors may also be a good idea as well.

Safety Tips for Kayaks

Because kayaks are human-powered vessels, there is no competency requirement to use a kayak. Nonetheless, having some training and knowledge of kayak safety is extremely important to have before you hit the water. Use the following tips to get you started.

  • Be sure that your kayak is a minimum of four metres to ensure that it can handle swells and track better.
  • Chose a kayak that is suited for how you are going to use it. For example, polyethylene kayaks provide better impact resistance but have a low stiffness rating. Composite materials, like fiberglass, carbon fibre, and Kevlar, provide decent impact resistance and higher stiffness.
  • Be sure to choose a kayak that has plenty of watertight flotation compartments to increase buoyancy and allow you enough room to store safety gear and other necessities.
  • Choose a wider kayak to increase stability.

Getting Legal Help

In some situations, a canoe or kayak accident can result in legal liability. Call 1-800-567-HURT to find out more about how our team at Diamond and Diamond can help you.

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