Graphic regarding waterway safety in Lac du Bonnet Manitoba. The text reads "Waterway safety is in your hands. Let's do our part to keep our waterways enjoyable for all users." The graphic also has an image of a small toddler wearing a life jacket in a boat.


Navigating the waters with safety and responsibility is paramount for an unforgettable boating experience. Whether you’re a seasoned boater or a first-time adventurer, these are the essential safe boating tips, rules, and regs to ensure the well-being of yourself and others on Lac du Bonnet’s waterways. From maintaining sobriety and wearing a lifejacket to acquiring boating knowledge and practicing courteous behaviour, these guidelines will equip you with the knowledge and mindset to enjoy your time on the water while prioritizing safety. So, let’s dive into the essential tips that will make your boating adventure safe, enjoyable, and worry-free.

Boat Sober

It is essential to operate a boat while sober to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the water. Alcohol and drugs impair judgment, coordination, and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents. Always designate a sober driver or operator. In Manitoba, the fines and penalties for operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs match the fines and penalties for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There is NO difference between drunk driving and drunk boating.

In Manitoba, it is illegal to transport open alcohol on boats. Boat passengers may only consume alcohol on board a boat in Manitoba so long as the boat has a permanent toilet, cooking facilities, sleeping facilities and it is anchored or moored to the shore.

Wear a Life Jacket

Wearing a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is crucial for everyone on board, regardless of age or swimming ability. Accidents can happen suddenly, and a lifejacket can save lives by keeping you afloat and providing buoyancy. Ensure that the lifejacket is properly fitted and in good condition.

Take a Boating Course

It is highly recommended to take a boating safety course before heading out on the water. These courses provide valuable information on navigation rules, operating procedures, emergency preparedness, and more. Being knowledgeable about boating practices will help you make informed decisions and handle unexpected situations effectively.

Keep Your Wakes Low Around other Vessels and Swimmers

When operating your boat or jet ski, be mindful of the wakes you create. Mind your speed and watch your wake around other vessels, swimmers, and shorelines. Large wakes can cause damage to other boats, disrupt other water activities, and even pose a danger to swimmers or smaller vessels. Respect the safety and comfort of others by minimizing your wake.

Enjoy Your Watersport Activities 100 meters from the Shoreline

When engaging in watersports like jet skiing, wakeboarding, or wake surfing, it’s best to do so at least 100 meters away from the shoreline. This distance helps prevent collisions with swimmers, reduces the risk of damage to property, and ensures a safer experience for everyone.

Slow Down in High-traffic Areas

In areas with high boat traffic, such as marinas, docks, or narrow channels, it is crucial to reduce your speed. Slow down to maintain control of your vessel, allow for better maneuverability, and minimize the risk of collisions. Pay attention to signage and any speed limits or restrictions in place.

Have fun and be safe by ensuring you pack your safety equipment, wear a life jacket, and be aware of your surroundings: Prioritize safety while enjoying your time on the water. Pack essential safety equipment such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, distress signals, and a sound-producing device. Regularly check that all equipment is in working order. Wear your life jacket throughout the outing and stay aware of your surroundings, including weather conditions, other vessels, and potential hazards.


In tight quarters, such as the Pinawa Channel and parts of the Lee River, understanding the “Rules of the Road” is crucial for safe operation of vessels. It is essential to know which vessels have the right of way and the difference between a Stand-On Vessel and a Give-Way Vessel.

What Vessels Have the Right of Way?

Vessels under paddle (e.g., Canoe, Kayak, SUP) generally have the right of way under most circumstances. However, it’s important to be aware that other vessels may not be familiar with this rule. Exercise caution and maintain situational awareness.
Vessels under sail must give way to paddle crafts since sailboats are considered less maneuverable. Sailboats should adjust their course or speed to allow paddle crafts to navigate safely.

Vessels under power, such as motorized boats, must give way to vessels that are less maneuverable, including sailboats and paddle crafts. Power vessels should take necessary actions, such as slowing down, stopping, or altering their course to ensure the safety of less maneuverable vessels.

Stand-On versus Give-Way Vessels

The Stand-On vessel, the one with the right of way, has the responsibility to maintain its course and speed. The Give-Way vessel, on the other hand, must take early and substantial action to avoid the Stand-On vessel. The Give-Way vessel should choose the best course of action to stay clear, which may include stopping, slowing down, or altering its course to go behind the vessel with the right of way.

By understanding and following these principles, boaters can navigate through narrow or congested areas safely and minimize the risk of collisions or other accidents.

It Only Works if You Wear It! Always Wear Your Lifejacket Properly

Wearing a life jacket is a crucial aspect of waterway safety. However, it is essential to understand that simply having a life jacket onboard is not enough. The life jacket only serves its purpose if you wear it and wear it correctly. To ensure your safety on the water, remember the following:

Wear Your Life Jacket!

Always wear your life jacket when you are on a boat, kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or engaging in any water activity. It should be worn by everyone on board, regardless of age or swimming ability. A life jacket provides crucial buoyancy and can keep you afloat in the event of an accident.

Wear it Properly!

It’s not enough to have a life jacket on; it must be worn correctly to be effective. Ensure your life jacket is snugly and securely fastened, with all straps and buckles properly adjusted. It should fit snugly but comfortably, allowing you to move your arms and breathe freely. Improperly fitted life jackets can hinder your ability to swim or float effectively.

Choose the Right Type of Life Jacket

There are different types of life jackets designed for specific water activities. Select a life jacket appropriate for your chosen activity and the conditions you’ll encounter. For example, inflatable life jackets may be suitable for calm waters, while inherently buoyant life jackets are more suitable for rough or remote conditions.

Check the Condition

Regularly inspect your lifejacket to ensure it is in good working condition. Check for any signs of damage. Ensure that the flotation material is intact and not compressed. If you notice any issues, repair or replace the lifejacket as necessary.

By wearing your lifejacket properly, you enhance your safety and set a good example for others. Remember, waterway safety is in our hands, and by wearing our lifejackets in the right manner, we contribute to the safety of water recreation.

Obtaining Your Pleasure Craft Operator Card in Canada

Going out on the water requires basic boating safety knowledge and a good understanding of the ‘rules of the road’ for Canadian waterways. It is a legal requirement that EVERYONE who operates a motorized pleasure craft MUST CARRY PROOF OF COMPETENCY on board, regardless of the size or horsepower of the engine.

This season, let’s all remember that waterway safety is in our hands. Get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card today and ensure you are prepared to operate your boat safely.

To obtain your Pleasure Craft Operator Card, you need to pass a boating safety test administered by a Transport Canada-accredited course provider.

These accredited course providers offer flexible education and testing options, including classroom sessions, online courses, and self-study materials. Transport Canada (TC) highly recommends taking a boating safety course as the best way to prepare for the test. While not mandatory, investing in a course has significant benefits: it increases your awareness of safe boating practices, prevention measures, and practical ways to reduce risks on the water.

The boating safety course covers a comprehensive range of essential information, including:

Minimum safety equipment: You will learn about the necessary safety equipment required to be carried on board your boat, such as life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights.

Understanding Canadian buoys: The course provides insight into the various types of buoys used in Canadian waterways, their shapes, colours, and markings, as well as their meaning and significance for navigation.

Sharing waterways: You will learn how to navigate and share waterways with other vessels, including understanding right-of-way rules, overtaking procedures, and proper communication on the water.

Review of regulations: The course offers a comprehensive review of the regulations and laws that specifically relate to pleasure boating, ensuring you are aware of your responsibilities and obligations as a boat operator.

Emergency response: You will learn how to respond effectively in emergency situations, including understanding distress signals, proper communication protocols, and practical emergency procedures.

By obtaining your Pleasure Craft Operator Card and completing a boating safety course, you not only fulfill legal requirements but also equip yourself with essential knowledge and skills to navigate Canadian waterways safely.

Remember, waterway safety starts with each individual taking responsibility. By investing in your boating education, you contribute to a safer and more enjoyable boating experience for yourself and others on the water.

Do You Know What Safety Equipment is Required on Your Vessel?

Are you planning to take your boat out this weekend? It’s crucial to ensure that you have all the necessary safety equipment properly stored on your vessel. Before embarking on your waterway adventure, familiarize yourself with the safety equipment required by law for your specific type and length of boat.

Let’s all remember that waterway safety is our responsibility. Let’s set a good example for waterway safety by ensuring we have all the required safety equipment on board.

In Canada, the safety equipment required on board a boat varies depending on the type and length of the vessel. To ensure compliance with regulations, it’s important to consult the Safe Boating Guide – Safety Tips and Requirements for Pleasure Crafts, published by Transport Canada. This comprehensive guide outlines the minimum safety equipment requirements for various types of boats, including canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, powerboats, and more.

Here are some examples of the safety equipment commonly required on different types of boats:

Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) or Lifejackets: An adequate number of properly fitting PFDs or lifejackets must be available for every person on board. Ensure they are in good condition, easily accessible, and suitable for the intended users.

Buoyant Heaving Line: A buoyant heaving line of appropriate length should be readily available to assist in rescue operations if someone falls overboard.

Sound Signaling Device: All boats are required to carry a sound signalling device, such as a whistle, horn, or bell, to communicate audible warnings or distress signals.

Visual Distress Signals (VDS): Depending on the vessel’s length and operating area, certain boats must carry approved VDS devices, such as flares or signalling flags, to attract attention and indicate distress.

Navigation Lights: Power-driven boats, sailboats, and boats operating at night or in low visibility conditions must have proper navigation lights to ensure visibility and prevent collisions.

Fire Extinguisher: Boats equipped with an inboard engine, fixed fuel tanks, or enclosed compartments must carry an approved fire extinguisher suitable for extinguishing flammable liquid fires.

Please note that these examples are not exhaustive, and the specific requirements may vary based on your boat’s characteristics and intended use. Refer to the Safe Boating Guide for a complete list of safety equipment requirements relevant to your vessel.

By diligently carrying and maintaining the required safety equipment, you not only comply with the law but also ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and others on the water. Let’s make waterway safety a top priority and lead by example.

Before every boating trip, take a moment to check and ensure that all your safety equipment is in good working order and readily accessible. Let’s all do our part to create a safe and enjoyable boating experience for everyone on the water.

Disclaimer: The information provided in our articles about waterway safety in Lac du Bonnet is for general informational purposes only. While we strive for accuracy, it may not be up-to-date or applicable to every situation. Consult official sources and local authorities for the most current and accurate information. Our articles do not substitute professional advice, and readers should exercise their own judgment and consider their specific circumstances. We are not liable for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information provided. Follow applicable laws, regulations, and safety guidelines and seek professional advice when needed. Waterway activities carry inherent risks, and individuals are responsible for their own safety. The content may change without notice. Consult local authorities for specific concerns or questions regarding waterway safety in Manitoba.

Protect Manitoba's Waters

AIS, or Aquatic Invasive Species, pose a significant threat to our water bodies, affecting both the environment and recreational activities. It is crucial that we all play our part in preventing their spread.

Whether you’re a casual boater or a commercial operator, the legislation applies to everyone who enjoys the province’s waterways. These regulations focus on the movement of AIS through various means such as watercraft, aircraft, vehicles, equipment, and bait use. Prior to entering or leaving a water body, individuals and operators are required to take specific measures to ensure AIS does not transfer from one location to another.

To learn more about these important regulations, including cleaning requirements and legislation, please visit the Legislation, Regulations, and Set Fines section on the Government of Manitoba website. Additionally, you can find valuable information about AIS in the Manitoba Angler’s Guide, helping us all stay informed and safeguard our beloved water resources. Read more here

About Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba

Lac du Bonnet is where the Manitoba Prairies give way to the vast boreal forest and the Canadian Shield, where miles of natural trails allow you to hear nature’s sounds and relax within her bounty. In Lac du Bonnet, miles of prime waterways stretch out before you, calling you toward your next adventure, and a rich history remains to be discovered among the ruins. Culture and arts flourish along the streets where neighbours gather for events and festivals, inviting you to discover the true passion behind our community.

Lac du Bonnet is more than a place on the map; it is the place that connects with your heart. The place where you will create a lifetime of memories and unleash the adventure to reconnect with yourself and your loved ones.

This year we invite you to explore Lac du Bonnet and discover that your heart is home here!

Get in Touch with My LdB

Do you have questions about your visit to Lac du Bonnet? Get in touch with our trip advisors and we’ll help you out. You can also give us a call at 1-204-213-0033

This season, let's all remember that waterway safety is in our hands. Let's all do our part, share this information with your friends!