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Boating Safety

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Boaters Code – Respectful Boating Guidelines on our Waterways

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  • I will respect other vessels on our waterways.
  • I will be aware of and obey all laws and regulations governing operation of my boat.
  • I will remember that vessels come in all shapes, sizes and abilities.
  • I will use courtesy when approaching others.
  • I will minimize my wake impact on shorelines, docks, structures and people by obeying the 10/30 regulation of a 10 km/hr speed when 30 meters from the shoreline.
  • I will always steer clear of other boats, swimmers and water activities including wildlife.
  • I will set a speed and heading that is safe and comfortable for my passengers and others on the water.
  • I will ensure I obey all laws and regulations regarding the operation of my boat including safety equipment, PFDs and ensure I know the obligations when meeting other vessels on the waterways.
  • I will carry all equipment necessary to operate my boat safely and within the law.
  • I will never consume alcohol in my boat or allow my boat to be operated by anyone who is impaired.
  • I will not create excessive noise or operate my boat in a manner that disrupts the peaceful enjoyment of the lake by others.

Harbour Safety Q & A

Is there a plan to put the “slow” buoys back in Cameron Narrows?
The Harbour Safety Committee has recommended to continue with safe boating education and monitor boating activity in Cameron Narrows with the assistance of the OPP.  As well, the process for a VORR is on hold for now.

What is a VORR?
Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.  This is the process for any level of government to ask the Federal Government for restrictions on all bodies of water in Canada.

Where are the existing VORR areas in City of Kenora limits?
There are three: Golf Course Bay, Portage Bay and Keewatin Bay, and Laurenson Creek

The existing VORRs can be found in the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations. Schedule 5 Part 3 and Schedule 6 Part 2, Ontario

Besides Cameron Narrows, are there any other areas being considered for either information buoys or VORRs?
A request has been received to consider Norman Bay as well but Cameron Narrows has been the main concern at this point.

Are you considering actions in all of Kenora Bay not just Cameron Narrows?
The City can consider information buoys or beginning the VORR process for bodies of water within its boundaries, which would include Kenora Bay.  Cameron Narrows has been focus.

How wide is Cameron Narrows?
67 meters at the high water mark.  The shortest distance across can vary on the water level.

What is the Universal Shoreline Restriction or the 10/30 Rule?
The rules states that if you are within 30 meters from shore or closer, you must travel at 10 kilometres per hour or less, unless a speed limit is posted.  Consult Transport Canada for the complete rule.

What are the exceptions to the USR or 10/30 Rule?
For water skiing, rivers less than 100 meters wide and in buoyed channels or canals.

Is Cameron Narrows a channel?
To be considered a channel to be excluded from the USR or 10/30 Rule, the body of water has to be named on a lake chart or topographical map as a channel.   A local example would be Keewatin Channel.

Does the USR or 10/30 rule apply to Cameron Narrows and the Lake of the Woods?
Unless a speed limit is posted, if you are within 30 meters from shore or closer, you must travel at 10 kilometres per hour or less through Cameron Narrows and in any area on the Lake of the Woods where you travel at less than 30 meters from shore.

How many accidents have taken place in Cameron Narrows?
There have been two reported.  A boat run up on a slower boat 7 or 8 years ago and a boat went up on the rocks in 2013. There have been no other reports of near misses, no fatalities, no complaints of people getting thrown out of a boat either.

What is an information buoy?
A buoy placed by a person to provide information to passing boaters, such as “slow” or “gas station”.

Can anyone put out an information buoy?
A person, organization or group can put out an information buoy as long as the Private Buoy Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act are followed.

Is an information buoy with “slow” on it enforceable by the OPP Marine Unit?
They are put there by a person and are a suggestion to other boaters to be courteous.

The Lake of the Woods is classified as an international navigable waterway because it borders the United States. Does Minnesota have to be involved in the VORR process for changes with lake navigation?
This is the Canadian side of the lake where the Canadian rule and processes apply.  No consultation with Minnesota is required.

Will there be other opportunities to participate in public information sessions?
We are planning a summer session.  The date will be announced soon.

Can the OPP Marine Unit enforce a buoy or sign that says “No Wake”?
There is no such thing as a “No Wake” law in Canada and there is no way to measure and designate wake to one boater or another.

When a large boat comes upon a smaller slower boat, who is responsible to adjust navigation?
Rule 5 Collision Regulations says you must maintain a constant watch and a constant look out at all times with all available means.  All boaters are responsible for safe navigation.

Can an information buoy be lit?
It can be equipped with lights as long as it is in compliance with the Private Buoy Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act.

Can the City apply for a VORR for Devil’s Gap or other places on the Lake of the Woods?
The City can only apply for a VORR within the City boundaries.  Other local governments would be the applicant for outside of the City’s boundaries.

Are float planes considered a vessel?
In the Canada Shipping Act, Collision Regulations, Rule 18, float planes are defined as a vessel.

Who has the right of way, float plane or a boat?
In the Canada Shipping Act, Collision Regulations, Rule 18, provides the “rule of the road”.

Are there regulations about the density of boats in a certain area?
Transport Canada does not regulate the number of boats that can travel in or through an area.

What speed can I go through Cameron Narrows?
The USR states that if you are within 30 meters from shore or closer, you must travel at 10 kilometres per hour or less.  If you travel where there is more than 30 meters to shore on either side, any speed is permitted.

What is considered shore or shoreline?
Any point where water meets land, which can be an island or main land, sea wall or beach.

Where do I find out more about boating regulations and safe boating?
Transport Canada: Small Vessel Regulations, Canada Shipping Act, 2001, Collision Regulations

Where can I send my comments and concerns about safe boating on the City of Kenora waterways?
Email written comments to: kholder@kenora.ca