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Course Outline

Buoyant heaving lines and lifebuoys are personal lifesaving appliances that are designed to be thrown to a person in the water.

Buoyant Heaving Lines

Buoyant heaving line

A buoyant heaving line is a floating rope that has a soft buoyant object on one end. The line can be thrown toward a person in the water for him or her to hold onto while you pull them alongside. Packing the line in a rescue throw bag will keep the line from getting knotted and make it easier to throw.

  • In order for a buoyant heaving line to meet the requirements in the Small Vessel Regulations and be approved for use on your pleasure craft, it must:
    • Be made of one continuous piece of rope that is the correct length for your pleasure craft and…
    • Float and be in good condition and…
    • Be easily accessible in case of an emergency.
  • You should practice throwing a buoyant heaving line so that you will be prepared to use it if the need arises.


Life buoy

A lifebuoy is a throwable type of flotation device with a line attached. The line is used to pull the lifebuoy once it has been thrown to a person in the water.

  • To meet the requirements in the Small Vessel Regulations, the lifebuoy must:
    • Be at least 610 mm (24 inches) in diameter and be made of inherently buoyant material and…
    • Be attached to a good-quality buoyant line that won’t kink and is at least 9.5 mm in diameter and 15 metres long and…
    • Have a Transport Canada approval stamp or label with an approval number in the following format:
  • To increase visibility, make sure you have retro-reflective tape encircling the lifebuoy at four equally spaced points. The retro-reflective tape should be visible on both sides of the device.
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