Greater Ontario Kayak Angling

Kayak Fishing and Your Legal PFD for Canadian Water

transport-canada-approvedThis isn’t a post about wearing your PFD.  It is about making sure you are wearing a legal PFD while fishing on Ontario waters.  Considering I own around 10 PFDs, it was only recently that I discovered that only 2 of them are legal here in Ontario.  My Mustang manual inflatable, and a Salus Angler Vest, (no high back) which is not comfortable or made for the new fishing kayak seats that most high end kayaks now come with.  Salus is a made in Canada PFD and they do have a Kayak Angler Model that I can’t comment on whether it has a back that suits the new style seats in Fishing Kayaks.

Now the question about legal PFD or Lifejacket.  Here is the paragraph taken right form the Canadian Government web site;


Look for a lifejacket or PFD with a label that states it has been approved by:

  • Transport Canada;
  • Canadian Coast Guard;
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada; or,
  • any combination of the above.

Foreign visitors to Canada may bring their own flotation device to use as long as it conforms to the laws of their country

It does not say anything about ULC labels which Mountain Equipment Company ( has advertised on PFDs that they sell.  An article from Outdoor Canada (2011) that lists the top 9 PFDs does not clarify if they are approved for Canadian use and I know of at least a few of them that are not.

Before purchasing a couple of child PFDs at a show in Michigan this past winter I thought I would give a buddy a call who works for the RCMP and has spent time on the water inspecting boaters for proper safety gear.  He flat out said it has to have a Transport Canada Approved label, (plus the ones in above paragraph).  Mustang makes PFDs for the US and Canada and it is possible that the same style PFD can be manufactured on the same line, and have two separate labels or approvals.  Would you be happy wearing a Mustang PFD that is not approved for Canadian water and being ticketed?  Of course as always it will depend on the Law Enforcement Officer how far he carries the letter of the law.

I did find a manufacture that has Transport Canada Approved PFDs and in an effort not to be biased with a company that I am a Kayak Fishing Pro Staff Member, I searched three of the most popular Kayak Fishing PFD Companies (other than Kokatat) to see if their jackets clearly show that they are legal in Canada.  NRS, Stohlquist, and Extrasport.  All three have very good quality PFDs that are comfortable (in the kayak) and less than $150.    All three failed to show any approvals for Canadian water.  Only Kokatat with their Bahia Tour and Bahia Predator showed that they are Transport Canada Approved.



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So other than Salus (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) and Kokatat (Arcata, California, USA) does anyone else know of a good PFD that is marketed for kayak fishing, and to suit the new style seats in fishing kayaks (Canadian approved)?  Are you willing to take a chance on not being charged for not wearing approved safety gear in Canadian water?



Update From Recent Findings!

After posting this blog I continued to research PFDs by Extrasport, NRS, and Stohlquist.   It appears that in order to sell in Canada the companies have to have the labels in French.  I have seen all three of these companies selling from a Canadian source and I am sure they will have the Transport Canada Approvals on those labels.   Not sure why they wouldn’t put the Transport Canada Approval on all PFDs made whether they are selling in the USA or Canada.

My conclusion to this exercise is if you are going to buy a PFD in the USA, better make sure it has the proper Canadian Approval.  I would also always make sure any PFD made anywhere else other than in Canada also has the proper Transport Canada Approval.

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