River Safety and Etiquette
Working towards safer, shared enjoyment of the river by all.
Did You Know?
River usage has been rapidly increasing by swimmers, floaters, paddlers, sailors, and motorboat enthusiasts.
80-90% of the traffic on the river is human-powered, including 35,000+ annual paddling trips on the Lower Gatineau alone.
Personal flotation devices and safety equipment are required by law for motor boats and paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, and even inflatables.
Boat wakes swamp paddlers and swimmers, and erode the shoreline.
Current boating speed limits on the Lower Gatineau are 10 km/h within 30 metres of shore and 55 km/h beyond.
Photo by Cascades Club
Gatineau River Etiquette
All River Users
Leave no trace: plan on bringing your garbage home.
Respect the wildlife: watch quietly from afar; don’t feed; leave plants and rocks as is.
Respect the community: other river lovers, local residents and property.
Be seen: when on the water, make sure you can be seen by an oncoming motorboat!
Paddlers and Floaters
Safety first: bring a personal flotation device and safety equipment.
Follow speed limits: 10 km/h in the narrows and within 30 m of shore is the LAW.
Be considerate: reduce speed and wake before passing a swimmer, floater, or paddler.
Wash your boat before entering when coming from another watercourse.
Limit use of 2-stroke engines. 4-stroke and electric engines are much less polluting.
What We’re Doing
Boat Launch Signage
We worked with Chelsea to develop a boating code of conduct sign that will be installed at the Farm Point public boat launch for the 2021 season.
What You Can Do
respect the code
Know and follow all boating laws and river user etiquette.
SLOW DOWN and minimize your wake
To protect the shoreline, and when approaching swimmers, paddlers, other boaters, and wildlife.
Leave No Trace
Bring your garbage back with you, respect wildlife, and don’t take plants or rocks.
River Safety & Etiquette News
After Red Bull promoted the Gatineau River as a great destination for floating, hundreds of floaters visited the area every weekend, resulting in instances of littering, stranded floaters needing to be rescued, drinking alcohol, illegal parking and an increase in trespassing on private properties.