Hamilton Police Launch “Project Sea-Don’t”

The Hamilton Police Service has received a number of public complaints regarding the operation of personal watercrafts, commonly known by brand names such as Sea-Doo or Jet Ski. Due to the volume and widespread geographical area of complaints, the Marine Unit is immediately launching an enforcement initiative dubbed Project Sea-Don’t. The primary focus will be to combat the aggressive operation of these PWC’s

Personal watercrafts (PWCs) are capable of travelling at high speeds, often making tight turns and jumping waves. Speed and maneuverability are some of the reasons people enjoy PWCs. However, these same attributes can also make these machines dangerous when not given due respect and operated in a responsible manner. A number of Hamilton residents have raised concerns regarding PWCs being operated too close to swimmers, close to other boats, or generally in a reckless manner. Effective immediately and continuing through July 31, 2020, the Marine Unit will increase enforcement efforts for PWCs.

There is zero tolerance for careless or dangerous operation of any vessel.

Operators of PWCs are reminded of the following laws under the Canada Shipping Act:

  • Anyone operating a PWC must carry proof of competency (ie boaters card).
  • Operator must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Within 30 meters of shore, speed must be 10 km/hr or less.
  • Your vessel must be operated in a manner that gives due care, attention, and reasonable consideration for other persons.
  • No alcohol or cannabis permitted and laws for impairment are the same as in a car.
  • Must have enough seats for each person on board, including anyone being towed.
  • If towing a person (ie tubing), there must be a person keeping watch on board.
  • Each person on board must wear a properly fitted Canadian approved personal flotation device (or be subject to additional requirements if not wearing it).
  • Have all required safety equipment on board, accessible and in working order.
  • Have properly displayed bow numbers and carry your vessel licence on board.
  • If operated at night or restricted visibility your PWC must have working navigation lights.

Fines for safety violations under the Canada Shipping Act range from $240 to $615.

The Hamilton Police Marine Unit proactively patrols and responds to marine emergencies on all navigable bodies of water in the City of Hamilton, including Hamilton Harbour and western Lake Ontario. Marine Officers stop and inspect any type of pleasure craft on these waters to check for safety equipment, required documents, as well as alcohol or drug offences.

For marine emergencies use VHF channel 16, dial *16 on your cell phone, or call 911.