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Now that you’ve bought a boat..


first of all- Congratulations!

Now that you’ve bought a boat however, there are some things that you’ll need, and some books that we very highly recommend.


When you own a boat and are cruising/sailing in Canada, there are some things that are required. This blog will focus on the requirements and suggestions for those cruising in Canadian waters (especially the Great Lakes) but these recommendations can also be extrapolated for other countries.

1. Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card- This is your driving license for Ontario (And equivalents for other provinces).
The exam is provided by a corporation but is required, and information can be found here. We do sell the BOATsmart! Pleasure Craft Operator Card Study Guide, which is the official study guide for that license. The PCOC is required for driving/skippering any kind of craft. If you have purchased a boat with an engine and plan to cruise around Toronto, you may also require a Toronto Harbour license.

2. Charts and Documents – in Canada, if you’re in a boat bigger than a dinghy (so not a Hobie, or CL14 or something like that- but it does include most yachts and cruising boats), you are required to have the following:
A) Charts- including the Largest scale (most detailed) charts for where you are sailing/cruising. Here are some links to blogs about charts.
B) Chart 1- which is the legend for Canadian (and most) charts.
C) List of Lights and Navigation Aids- these are a series of PDFs which can be downloaded
D) Tide Tables (not needed for the Great Lakes)- They can be downloaded or we do sell printed version (Arctic and Hudson’s Bay, for example)
E) Sailing Directions- These are effectively the Government’s version of cruising guides- they provide all the information needed to safely sail/transit in Canadian waters. There are many volumes for different areas. This is the link to the Lake Ontario one as an example.


In addition to what boaters are required to have on board, there are a number of things that we highly recommend.

A. Cruising Guides – Cruising Guides such as the Waterway Guides, Skipper Bob or Ports provide details that are no in either the Sailing Directions or in Charts, and so are highly recommended, especially for planning what to do around marinas and anchorages. (NB: Ports has ceased production, so there is a somewhat limited stock of Lake Ontario, Lake Huron/Georgian Bay/North Channel and Trent-Severn)

B. Electronics Books – We very much recommend Nigel Calder’s Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, however there are a number of other excellent books as well.

C. Engine Books – we particularly recommend Dennison Berwick’s Marine Diesel Basics– but likewise, there are a number of other excellent books including Nigel Calder’s Diesel Engines.

D. Captain’s Quick Guides – this series of reference guides cover a wide series of topics that are necessary information. They are clearly written, and the series as a whole is well organized.

E. Logbooks- Logbooks are important because they provide documentation for your boat’s activities (and indeed may be required by insurance companies or for legal reasons if something goes wrong). You should have more than one logbook- for example, you should have a maintenance logbook (to track maintenance and upkeep and known issues), an engineering logbook (to track engine hours, fuel and oil use and other details) as well as a logbook for navigation and a narrative logbook.

Buying a boat is an investment- and the books and documents outlined we’ve discussed here are an excellent start to maintaining your investment, and getting the most out of it.

Coming Soon: ships2shores

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