VHF use in Canada

-- Last Updated: Jul-06-05 7:08 PM EST --

I am planning a kayaking trip to Canada. I plan on paddling Lake Superior. I carry a VHF for emergencies and to check on the weather.
In the states, no license is required.
What about the use of a handheld VHF in Canada?
Any special requirements?

Funny you should ask
I ran into a marina operator at work today (I’m in Nova Scotia) and asked him if anyone in the area puts on a licensing course for vhf. I know that a license is required to tx, but our club radio is used exclusively to monitor weather and ch 16 for traffic.

He replied that none of his pleasure boat clientele is licensed, though they all have marine vhf radios. Apparently no one is even remotely interested in whether you hold a vhf license unless you are a commercial craft.

“Forget about it, that’s my advice.” He said.

I’ve wondered too
We always bring our vhf radio and our flare guns. Never done more than get the weather and a radio check with the vhf. I’m guessing the cheesy flare gun could get us in more trouble than the vhf, but don’t really give it too much thought. Both items are part of the standard gear.

Info at

yes a licence is legally required
VHF operation in Canada does require a restricted radio operators licence. i took the course recently and it was all laid out. fines for not carrying your card or using the radio without one are pretty steep.

now whether they ever check for them is another thing. a buddy of mine always carried one on our Pukaskwa trips without a licence but he never called or intended to, just checked weather. someone brought up doing merely a radio check. thing is if you don’t know the protocol for doing a radio check it would be immediately obvious to the Coast Guard and they are the ones you do radio checks with. maybe you could just bone up on the procedures and the phonetic alphabet and go for it. i would really want to know what i was doing however if i were you. ultimately the system is there for navigation and safety purposes so it defeats the system if one doesn’t know how to use it properly.

where do you plan to paddle on the Cdn shore, by the by?

safe journey, JBV

Slate Islands
Thanks for the info.

I am headed to the Slate Islands.

Thanks for the info!!
Thanks for the info. The Canadian Boating Website was helpful.