A reboarding device is a ladder, lifting harness or any other device that can help a person get back onto a vessel from the water. If you accidentally fall into the water while boating, it’s very important to have a reboarding device aboard, particularly if you’re alone.
Reboarding devices are part of the safety equipment required on board a boat. In Canada, a reboarding device is required on any vessel with a freeboard that exceeds half a metre (50 cm or 1’8”). In layman’s terms, “freeboard” means the vertical height a person needs to climb in order to get back into the boat from the water. More specifically, the freeboard is the vertical distance at the side of the boat between the gunwale, or upper edge of the boat, and the waterline at the boat’s maximum load capacity.
The reboarding device must be appropriate for the size of the vessel and cannot include any part of the boat’s propulsion system. Apart from that, there are no construction specifications for an approved reboarding device, so it can be as simple as a rope tied to the gunwale at both ends that can be used as a step.
A vessel that has transom ladders or swim platform ladders already meets this requirement.
Reboarding devices aren’t the only thing you need to meet Canadian requirements for boating safety! By law, those who want to operate a boat on Canadian waters must obtain a pleasure craft operator card and keep it with them at all times while boating. Learn how to boat safely and get your boating licence by taking our online boating course and exam.