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In times of serious boating emergencies, the ability to summon help quickly can make the difference between life and death. Here are some items that you should carry on board to help get assistance quickly.

Visual Distress Signals: It is recommended that you have and know how to send a signal using flashlights and distress flares. Carry extras. Always respond immediately to other boaters displaying a distress signal.

Visual distress signals: handheld red flares, orange flag, meteors, electric light,

VHF Marine Radio: Consider purchasing a Very High Frequency (VHF) marine radio. VHF marine radios have channels that are reserved for distress calls and are monitored continuously by the Canadian Coast Guard.

VHF marine radio

Cell Phone: If you own a cell phone, include it as part of your standard boating gear. Keep a list of appropriate phone numbers on board.

  • Use the phone to call the nearest Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centre by dialling *16 or #16. Note that not all cell providers offer this service.
  • Cell phones may be useful for contacting local law enforcement agencies. However, they have serious limitations and should not be used as a substitute for a VHF radio.
Mobile phone
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