Aug 27, 2020

Just Ask JohnBy John Gullick

Is it mandatory that people wear their Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) or lifejackets while on board their vessels and underway?

This is a question that I am asked regularly and to date the answer has been NO, excepting of those who use inflatable lifejackets. They must be worn when on board and underway. However, inherently buoyant lifejackets need only be kept close at hand. There must be an approved lifejacket on board for every person, it must be of an appropriate size and you need to be able to reach it, not have it stored on a locker somewhere.

If you click on the following link: you will see that Transport Canada has tabled a petition to Minister Garneau and the House of Commons that the small Vessel Regulations be amended to make it mandatory the all children under the age of 14 be required to wear a Personal Flotation Devise (PFD) or lifejacket in small vessels covered under the regulations.

There are many who believe that PFD or lifejacket wear be mandatory for all, not just children under the age of 14, and the statistics clearly support that belief. About 85% of those involved in fatal recreational boating related deaths were not wearing PFDs or lifejackets and in many cases they were not even present on the vessel.

FYI, in Canada there is a difference between a PFD and a lifejacket. Lifejackets must be red, yellow or orange in colour, have fluorescent strips and a whistle attached and have a specified level of flotation depending on the size of the wearer. They should be able to turn a person face up if they are unconscious in the water. PFDs on the other hand can be of any colour, can be inherently buoyant or inflatable and have a certain level of floatation which is specified but less than a lifejacket. Inflatable PFDs cannot be used by people under the age of 16 and those involved in white water paddle sports.

Should this request for a regulatory change regarding the required wear of PFDs or lifejackets come into effect I believe that it will be a step in the right direction to significantly improve recreational boating safety.

John GullickMeet John Gullick

John is currently Manager of Government and Special Programmes, Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons responsible for government relations and the management of two national programmes mandated by Transport Canada, Office of Boating Safety and Industry Canada, special projects and staff supervision.

John writes “Just Ask John for the CPS’ Port Hole. This article and others are “Second Time Around”

His many achievements in the boating field include:

• Past Chair Canadian Safe Boating Council, 1999 –

• Co Chairman, Recreational Boating Advisory Committee to the National Canadian Marine Advisory Council, 2007 -

• Management of the Pleasure Craft Operator Card and the Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) programmes provided through 150 Squadrons, 400 independent Recognized Providers/Examiners and a number of Provincial Partner Organizations.

• Past Chair of the Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival. Considered to be one of the world’s largest single day community event of its kind now in its 20th year.

Related Articles



Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 54By Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau saw an opportunity to add a little thrill to any cruising adventure, so they took the hull of the First 53 racer (introduced just last year), and with a few fashionable changes, created the Oceanis Yacht 54, the new entry-level of Beneteau’s swanky Oceanis Yacht line. The result is a performance cruiser that sails like a witch and looks like a grande dame.


Roberto Biscontini is the naval architect and Lorenzo Argento created the details of the exterior and interior design. 

Read More

Riverest MarinaThe new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming francophone village in Eastern Ontario, this joined marina and restaurant venue is the ambitious initiative of long-time entrepreneur André Chabot and biologist Alexandra Quester, both residents of L’Orignal.

The purchase of the L’Orignal Marina was made official in November 2020. The new year was barely underway when all 50 available slips were already reserved. No wonder the addition of member and visitor slips is already planned for the 2022 season – the 2021 count is up to 62 power and sail already. At the moment, the Riverest Marina offers boaters a stop where they can launch their boat...

Read More

Galvanic CorrosionIt’s a scary thought – but whether your boat is made of wood, fiberglass, aluminum or composite – it’s slowly deteriorating under you. Part of this is the nature of the marine environment: Sun, moisture, waves, wind, movement and vibration all contribute to components breaking down.

But there are other factors that are much more concerning and act at a significantly faster rate that the environment can take credit for. One of these is commonly spoken of, but not terribly well understood: Corrosion. As boaters, we’re concerned with two main types of corrosion: Galvanic and Stray-Current. This edition will focus on galvanic corrosion – in two weeks, stay tuned for info on stray-current.

Read More



Mia and Caleb's EngagementOn July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor Yacht in Oromocto NB. (That piece was also expanded in CY magazine later in the year.)

One of our Canadian Yachting contributors, Denise Miller, had shared the article on my social media and a young man reached out and asked if she could connect him with the owners of the boat, Dave and Barb. Denise leapt into action and Dave and Barb were thrilled. They concocted a plan that the young lady, Mia, thought she was coming to model for a sales brochure for Dave to do charter tours.

Read More