Boat Navigation Equipment

All boaters must comply with Canada's safe boating rules and understand the Navigation regulations to boat smart.

One of the first things boaters need to learn to operate a boat safely is what Navigation Equipment is required on board and how to use it properly.

Boat Navigation Equipment Includes:

  • Sound-Signaling Devices: Sound-signaling devices can be used in navigational situations to alert other boaters to your intentions or to signal your need for help.

    Types of Sound-Signaling Devices:
    • Mechanical (floatless) whistle
    • Horn
    • Portable compressed-air horns
    • Bell
  • Navigation Lights: Navigation Lights enhance the visibility of your boat at night, or during periods of reduced visibility such as fog or rain. Navigation Lights make your boat visible from all angles. Navigation Lights must be displayed one hour prior to sunset and remain on until one hour after sunrise, and during periods of restricted or reduced visibility
  • Passive Radar Reflector: A passive radar reflector is a metallic device that is used to identify the position of your boat to other vessels equipped with radar.

    A Passive Radar Reflector is NOT required if:
    • You are operating on a waterway where no other vessels are using radar
    • It is impractical to mount on your vessel
    • Traffic conditions are limited
    • You are operating during daylight hours
    • You are operating in good weather conditions and calm waters
    • If the use of radar reflector is not essential for safe operation of your craft.
  • Magnetic Compass: A compass is a navigation aid for the boat operator to indicate direction. The needle in a magnetic compass will point to the magnetic north.

Not all boats have the same Navigation Equipment requirements please check the BOATsmart!® Study Guide to verify the types and quantities of Navigation Equipment required for your vessel.

Navigation equipment: distress horn

Navigation equipment: passive radar reflector