Do you need a license to operate a boat in Toronto Harbour? The short answer is yes! and here is why. The harbour is operated by the Toronto Ports Authority. They are responsible for promoting safe boating and navigation within the harbour. According to their “Practices and Procedures”, no person can operate a power driven vessel in the port or harbour without having a valid Toronto ports authority operators permit for power driven vessels. This is in addition to your pleasure craft license. What and where is the harbour?
As you can see from the map, their jurisdiction extends well beyond what you may consider to be the harbour and encompasses Hanlans point beach and Ward island.
Age restrictions for obtaining the license
- You can’t be granted this license if you are under the age of 14 years.
- If you intend to carry passengers for hire (ie: charters, water taxi exc…) you cannot be under the age of 18 years.
Application and testing required
- There is a written and practical test that you have to complete to the satisfaction of the Ports authority. At the conclusion of the testing there is a fee that is applied. (the fee was 30$ at the time this article was written)
- You can find out more about the testing and fee’s by going directly to the ports Toronto website application area.
The license is valid for one calendar year and can be renewed for a small fee directly on the Portstoronto website renewal page which can be found here. (the fee was 15$ at the time this article was written)
The Ports Authority offers a 2 week visitor permit that can be obtained as needed. There is no limit to how often you can apply for this visitor permit, however this option will cost you more than obtaining and renewing the permanent license. If you are one time or occasional visitor this option may work for you.
- You can’t operate your boat in a negligent manner.
- Your boat must be seaworthy and not overcrowded.
- You can’t moor on dock walls without proper permission.
- you must have insurance and proof of it available on request.
- You can’t anchor within the “inner” and “outer” harbour unless you are within the designated areas on chart 2085. If you are outside the “inner” and “outer” harbour, anchorage is at the discretion of the harbour master.
- you can’t swim unless you do so in a signed designated area or by written authorization.
- Your speed must not exceed 10Km/hour if you are within 150 meters of any shore or break wall. Outside of these areas you are to keep your speed below 19 km/h and must not produce wake within the the Toronto Island Lagoons or navigable waters between the shoreline and western break wall.
There are further restriction in relation to accident reporting, heavy weather, bridges, spills, diving, fishing and various other topic that can be found directly on the ports Toronto general website or more specifically their “practices and procedures” area.
The ports authority is responsible for the safe boating and navigation within the harbour. As you can see from the map above, the harbour extends outwards and covers water that you may not directly associate with being within the harbour. Make sure you take a look at the PortsToronto.com website for a more complete list of restriction, current license fees and regulations.