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What you need in your Boat Safety Kit

From the light birchbark canoes of the First Nations, to the fishing vessels of East Coast fishermen, Canada has a rich boating history. Before the days of trains and highways, boats were the best way to cross the country, so it’s no surprise that Canadians are so closely attached to watercraft. Today boating has evolved from transportation to recreation. Over 12 million Canadians took to the water in 2019! Per capita, Canadians own more boats than their American neighbour’s. Simply put, we love our boats in the great north.

With that love does come some risk however. Boating is a fantastic, healthy and safe activity for all ages, but like any activity, if you aren’t careful, you can be hurt. Fortunately, just by taking some simple precautions, you and your family can stay safe on the water.

The best choice you can make is to ensure that you always have a proper Boat Safety Kit with you when on the water, that you keep it in good condition, and know how to use it. Let’s take a look at what Transport Canada requires a responsible sailor keeps in their boat!

(Note – most of this information should be a refresher for anyone who has obtained the Pleasure Craft Operator Card, which is a requirement for boating in Canada. For more information, see our post about getting on the water. 


  • Personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket for every person on board.

    This is the big one. Note that it says ‘for every person on board.’ Not just the operator, but also the passengers. Each person on your boat should have a PFD or lifejacket, in the right size, and should know how to wear it. For added safety, they should keep it on at all times while on board. Acording to the Royal Lifesaving Society of Canada, 84% of boating related fatalities were caused by not wearing a PFD or lifejacket,

  • A buoyant heaving line, 15 meters in length.

    This line could be important in getting someone out of the water. As noted by Transport Canada, you should ensure you practice throwing the line – it’s not as easy as it looks.

  • Manual propelling devices or an anchor.

    Manual propelling device is a fancy way of saying oar or paddle. While Legend Boats come with ultra-reliable Mercury engines, you should still be prepared for an emergency loss of power. Drifting without any power is a dangerous situation.

  • Bilge or hand pump

    Bilge pumps ensure that, in the event of flooding or leaking in your boat, you can remove water from your bilges (the lowest part of the hull) and avoid imitating a submarine. Fortunately, most Legend Boats come equipped with bilges built in!
    You can read more about them in our blog post here.
    If your boat is too small for a bilge pump, make sure you bring a bailer at least.

  • Sound signalling devices

    Fog can be a real problem on the water. Sound signalling devices can warn others of your presence in the event of poor visibility. Larger boats may have built in appliances, but at least you should have a quality whistle or pressurized air horn in your Boat Safety Kit.

  • Navigation lights for nighttime and reduced visibility

    Boating at night is completely different from boating during the day. Night fishing is an exciting and unusual challenge, but always remember that extra caution is required once the sun goes down. Ensure you have the lights required for your size of boat to remain safe.

  • A class 5BC fire extinguisher for any boats with a fixed fuel tank or cooking appliances.

    While you won’t be firing up a propane stove on your Legend Boat, many of our models do come with fixed fuel tanks. Although unlikely, a fire while aboard can be disastrous.

  • A waterproof flashlight or Canadian approved flares

    When the light falls on the water, it gets dark very quickly. In the event you find yourself needing to signal your presence or call for help, flares or a flashlight will be invaluable.


If you keep all of this equipment on hand, ensure that it all is in working order, and know how to use it, you will drastically reduce your chances of being endangered while boating. Ensure that all your guests are trained on basic safety as well, and if you have young children, it’s never too early to start teaching good habits!

You can find more information on Transport Canada’s website here


Can’t be bothered visiting ten different stores to assemble a safety kit? Legend sells a deluxe Boat Safety Kit that includes everything mentioned in this post! You can find it in our convenient online store.

Until next time, stay safe.

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