Is my SUP a Watercraft?

Is my SUP a Watercraft?

What does the Canadian Coast Guard say about paddleboards? Are they boats? What kind of rules apply?

While many people think of them as water toys, they are legally classified as Watercraft and do fall under Small Vessel Regulations, with some exceptions. They are classified this way ONLY if you are navigating a waterway. This means if you are paddling down a river, or exploring a lake, you will need to follow the regulations. If you are playing at a beach or dock, then the regulations do not apply (though it is still wise to follow them).

No license or training is required to enjoy a paddleboard, but to follow the regulations you need to:

Wear a lifejacket or PFD, with a whistle


Carry a lifejacket or PFD on board, with a whistle and buoyant heaving line (15m or longer)


Carry a watertight flashlight when navigating after sunset, before sunrise, or in periods of restricted visibility

If stopped by authorities while navigating a waterway, you could receive anything from a warning to a fine of $200-500 for non compliance.

If you drive by a watercraft inspection station while out driving on the highway, technically you need to stop and let the inspectors/conservation officers know you have an inflatable paddleboard with you. They may ask to see it, but generally will just confirm that you cleaned and dried it before you stored it.