Canadian Coast Guard approved

This summer our Boy Scout troop is going to Canada on a canoe trip.

I have seen pictures of the PFDs they had befor on the trip; I can not see myself useing one of them.

I have heard stories of people being told their USCG approved PFD wasnt good enough for Canada.

I didnt get into a real paddle shop or out to Marysville yet ,but what do I need to look for on the tag to let me know it Canada O.K.

Just looking at tags at Dicks I didnt see anythig except USCG stuff on it.The same as all the stuff in my shed.




Mine Show…
Older Stearns Canoeing PFD

Approved by Canadian Coastguard, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans

Newer Kokatat MsFit

Dept. of Transport Canada Approved

There are no American or international standards labelled on either.

Whether there are variations in standards I simply don’t know, but I suspect they’d be minor - maybe colour, or reflective taping, etc. Be a pretty picky Coastie either side of the border who’d want you to take off your PFD so he/she could check the tag…

Fish and game checks
The guys I know that got checked were in 18 to 20 foot fishing boats, and probably not wearing them at the time of the check.

I guess I need to do more research.

Pretty much the same standards
Between Canada and the US the standards are pretty well the same, the difference is the testing, canadian companies have never had their stuff tested for use in the US and vice verse, but it could say transport canada, canadian coastguard, or possibly CSA Approved

maybe this is like the toilet thing
In Australia. Maybe things float differently in Canada.

Ryan L.

Canada has reciprocal agreement
I’m pretty sure the new law is that any visiting boater needs only to have an approval from their home jurisdiction.

If you wear it, they won’t care
There are different PFDs for Canada, Europe, and USA. There are no PFDs that are “dual-certified.” You cannot buy a Canadian approved PFD in the USA. Yes, Kokatat makes PFD that are approved for all three geographies, and yes they are basically the same PFD, they cannot legally ship an approved PFD anywhere other than the approved country. If you really want a Canadian approved PFD, find a Canadian retailer that will ship into the USA, or wait until you are in Canada to purchase one. However you will now own a PFD that will not be approved for use in the USA.

The good news, if you are wearing a PFD, the people who do the inspecting 99% of the time grant amnesty. If you are being a jerk, and doing things you should be, like drinking, hunting, trespassing, and not wearing a PFD, expect an additional ticket.

The one caveat, if your are working through a camp or outfitter, because of liability, they will probably be more prone to following the letter of the law, and requiring all participants to wear approved PFDs. So a USA approved PFD may not be god enough for them.

Well… we get our canoes.paddles,and PFDs from the outfitter; after that we load everything onto the train and were on our own.

I also want to bring along my own bent shaft paddle.

That doesnt need to be Canadian approved.


Just tell them JackL says
You don’t need no PFD’s.

US Coast Guard Approved O.K.
It is OK for US citizens to use their countries approved PFD in Canada. Canadians using US approved PFD’s in Canada are subject to a fine.

Legal in Canada?
I don’t remember what Canadian folder I was reading, but it stated that you’re OK in Canada if you are properly equipped for whatever place you’re from.

good God
Good God, that’s some checking! In EU I’ve never heard of anyone getting their PFD checked. Coasties sometimes go past you in border areas, wave and occasionally check your ID if you are paddling close to restricted areas. I once paddled into a Finnish military base area in bad weather and MP’s came out in a boat and advised me it’s not the best area to paddle in, but if I’m just making a shortcut it’s OK :).

It’s like being pulled over in a car

– Last Updated: Jan-17-12 7:52 AM EST –

If you are doing something obviously wrong in a car, like driving with a headlight out, the police may decide to pull you over and find other things while there. Works the same with the Coast Guard in our experience. We've had boats slow down and to take a better look at us offshore in Maine, but they've never actually stopped because everything looked to be in order. The most we have gotten is a wave before they move on. (We do stop paddling and give them a chance to ask something from us.) CG coverage is quite light where we stay, but even with that we have heard of them occasionally stopping to share advice if they see something that looks way foolish.

We have never had that happen when conditions were messy. At that point the CG usually has their hands full with declared emergencies from fishing and the occasional pleasure motor boat. The random kayaker bouncing around out there is going to have to call for help on a VHF before the CG is going to pay attention.

We did see the CG pull the hammer down on a kayaker once, and it was richly deserved. The idiot was meandering around in the docking area for ferries in Portland. It was also just after sunset and the paddler had no lights, nothing reflective. They were in a 12 ft transitional boat - not something that is hard to manage.

We should be OK
The checks I heard of were probably to check for drunk driveing on the water.

While we have you stopped lets see your fishing licence,your catch,your safty gear, and a look at your girlfriend.

We should be OK up in the Biscotani park area.

I myself havent ever been up there,but they say its fairly remote after the portage.

Thank you all for the info.

I will hold back that info on JackL though.

I’m not sure if that was good or bad.

Do they even let rebels in Canada?



Wrong federal authority
In Canada the coast guard does not write tickets or chase drug smugglers. It is the provincial or municipal police marine units that do. As long as you’re wearing a pfd and have mandated safety equipment they will leave you alone. They are mainly after yahoo dumb ass motor boaters. It has also been my experience that they are more concerned with your safety than writing up tickets.