Renter Beware!

If you are planning to rent a kayak, canoe, SUP or any other personal watercraft in Ontario this summer, or take a guided trip or lesson, make sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities, and those of the outfitter or company who you rent from. Do you know that there is a list of legally required safety equipment that must be included with EVERY boat? Do you know that failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines of as much as $750.00? This is NO JOKE! Both the customer AND the company who supplied the rental will be fined. Ignorance is not an excuse under the law. Transport Canada Regulations clearly state that you must have, for all craft under 18 feet in total length (which includes most kayaks, canoes, SUP's, peddleboats, rowboats, skiffs, fishing boats, etc, etc) : A) A PFD (personal floatation device) or lifejacket, approved for use in Canada and of suitable size for each user. B) 15 meters (or 50 feet) of bouyany heaving line (throw rope) C) A bailer or manual water pump D) A sound signalling device (whistle, compact fog horn) E) A manual propulsion device (paddle) F) A white navigation light, between sundown and sunrise or in low visibilty (fog) conditions. In addition, Transport Canada guidelines state that for rafting trips everyone will be supplied with a properly sized helmet. (NOT a single-impact bicycle helmet, but a properly designed whitewater helmet) AND, where the water conditions are below 15 degrees C, properly sized gear that provides thermal protection in case of immersion is required. It is the responsibility of the outfitter or guiding company to provide this gear. It is not only UNSAFE to participate in boating activities without the proper gear, it's AGAINST THE LAW and will result in severe penalties. Companies not providing the necessary gear are taking their customer's lives in their hands to save a few bucks! Don't assume that they will provide the necessary gear, some don't..... How do you protect yourself? As a customer, ask the company you are considering renting from, taking a lesson with, or participating in a guided kayak, canoe, SUP or raft trip with if they understand and comply with all of the regulations and if they supply all of the necessary gear to ensure your safety! Any company that shrugs off the legal requirements does not have your safety as a priority and does not deserve your business. Ask your outfitter, guide, or instructor to demonstrate the supplied equipment. Any guide, instructor or rental staff should be able to explain what the gear is and how it should be used in an emergency. DON'T ACCEPT THE "BUCKET OF BITS AND PIECES" MOST OUTFITTERS WILL TRY TO PUSH ON YOU! ASK THEM TO SHOW YOU HOW IT WORKS! Take a course, get educated, download a copy of the Transport Canada "Sea Kayak Safety Guide" and know what's required. Don't let anyone tell you this isn't important! At Grand River Kayak, your safety and satisfaction are our primary concerns. We use top-quality safety gear from brands like Kokatat, Salus, Peak UK, North Water, Level Six, Aquabound, and helmets from Predator and Shred Ready. For lessons and guided trips our staff carry additional safety gear beyond the legal minimum to ensure the trust you have placed in us is taken seriously. Any one of our staff can explain at any time exactly what gear you need, what gear you have, and can demonstrate it's proper use. Put us to the test! Ed Sullivan Owner, Grand River Kayak Paddle Canada Certified Sea Kayak Instructor


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