Tourist camp owners unsure of new boating, lifejacket laws

The boating operator proficiency law was a major topic of conversation among members of the Northwestern Ontario Tourism Association but many are still in limbo as to what they’re required to do for next summer.
Attending NWOTA’s annual fall meeting Monday at La Place Rendez-Vous, delegates expressed concern as to what exactly is required of them under the new legislation, expected to become law by January, specifically regarding American visitors to their camps.
“One problem we have is people coming up here to rent boats,” said Jerri McDougall. “The problem is nothing is etched in stone.”
One question was whether an American could use a “substitute” for the required certification. But no one could give an accurate answer.
Another boating issue was that of lifejackets being required for each person in a boat. In the case of Americans, it was understood they would be allowed to bring their own to Canada as long as it was deemed acceptable in their own “jurisdiction” (home state).
“Nothing has been approved or confirmed so it’s tough to know what the law is,” stressed McDougall.
NWOTA president Donna Hanson agreed it would be nice to know what exactly the laws are in order to better inform their American customers of them beforehand.
Ross’s Camp owner Pat Howard also was concerned with the new law regarding lifejackets being mandatory for everyone in a boat (although they don’t have to be worn). Cushions no longer are acceptable as a life-preserving device.
Again, she said there had been no official word as whether this law was in place.