Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations

Click on the above heading for detailed information concerning the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.

The Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations, under the Canada Shipping Act, regulate the operation of vessels on specific bodies of water in Canada.

These regulations contain schedules that set out operational restrictions such as speed limits, prohibited vessel types, maximum horsepower or when and where certain activities, such as water-skiing, are permitted.

How are restrictions imposed ?

A local group, association or municipality that wants to implement a restriction should obtain information about application procedures from the provincial government authority designated by the federal government.

The request for a restriction requires that the need for the implementation of a restriction be assessed and that public consultation be held at the local level. A resolution to adopt a restriction is then forwarded to the designated provincial authority which, in turn, applies for federal approval by Privy Council for inclusion in the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.

How are restrictions enforced ?

Once a boating restriction is in place, compliance is enforced by peace officers at all levels of government or by any officer specially appointed by the Minister of Transport. Sanctions are in the form of tickets or summons.

Speed Limits, Posted and Un-posted



Certain provinces have adopted a restriction to limit speed to 10 km/h   (5.4 knots) within 30 metres from shore on all waters within their boundaries, except for:

  • water-skiing, where the vessel follows a trajectory perpendicular to the shore; or

  • within an area designated by buoys as an area where another speed is permitted; or

  • in rivers of less than 100 m in width; or

  • in waters where another speed is prescribed under the Regulations.

This limit is not necessarily posted. As of the year 2009, this restriction applies in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the inland waters of British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Prohibited Waters, Special Restrictions



Operational restrictions such as speed limits, prohibited vessel types, maximum horsepower or when and where certain activities such as water-skiing are permitted, may apply locally.

How do you read a restriction sign ?

There are five types of shapes for the restriction signs. The frame colour is international orange. Signs with a section with a green border indicate that a special condition applies to the restriction (for example, the day/time an activity is allowed). The symbol on the sign indicates the type of restriction which applies. If the sign is arrow-shaped, the restriction applies in the direction pointed by the arrow.

Restriction Signs

wpe4.jpg (3979 bytes)
No power vessels
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No internal combustion or steam engine is permitted


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Power limit
wpe7.jpg (4017 bytes)
Standardized speed limit
(normally 5,10,25,40,55)


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No skiing
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No regatta
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No boats
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No power driven vessels in the direction indicated by the arrow


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No skiing north of the sign
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Combined sign (no skiing and speed limit)
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No power vessels between the hours and days in red