Dam Lake Association Private Buoy Guidelines - 2021

BACKGROUND  In the past couple of years there have been two developments:

  1. Transport Canada (TC) announced that they will begin visiting lakes to verify compliance of private buoys with TC Private Buoy Regulations (PBR).
  2. Some owners have placed private buoys in navigable waters on the lake.

PLAN  Request that owners intending on installing private buoys, consult the Executive for advice.

INTRODUCTON  The Dam Lake Association recognizes that it holds no jurisdiction in regards to private buoys.  These voluntary guidelines have been developed to inform owners of the regulations, liability and impact regarding safety and mutual enjoyment of the lake.  The Association invites anyone interested in installing private buoys to consult with the Association to explore their concerns and potential solutions. These guidelines and processes have been developed in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation between owners – recognizing that buoys, particularly those impacting navigation, impact everyone on the lake. A visit/revisit to the lake by TC to verify compliance of all buoys on the lake could result in potential fines, removal of buoys or orders to modify buoys to meet regulations.  A situation we would all like to avoid.


The following information is from Transport Canada’s An Owner’s Guide to Private Buoys:

Private buoy owners are responsible for following the PBR under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA, 2001). Where boating is restricted, private buoy owners and operators must also follow the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations (VORR).

The responsibility for enforcement and compliance provisions of the PBR is under the Transport Canada (TC) Navigable Waters Protection Program, known as the Navigation Protection Program (NPP). The NPP is also responsible for administering the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA).

Points to keep in mind:

  1. Do not place a private buoy that will/may interfere with the navigation of any vessel, or that will/may mislead any boater.
  2. Do not place a private buoy in any water unless all size, shape and identification requirements are met and all required information is accurate and up to date.
  3. Make sure that all private buoys meet the Canadian Aids to Navigation System standards.
  4. Use, build and install anchors that will keep the buoy in position.
  5. Understand that when a private buoy does not meet legal standards, the TC may remove or order you to modify it to meet current standards.

HIGHLIGHTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPLYING WITH THE REGULATIONS (For complete requirements refer to An Owner’s Guide to Private Buoys)

You can be fined for not meeting the requirements set out in the regulations and standards.

In the event of an accident, private buoy owners may also be found liable for any damages resulting from negligence respecting their private buoy(s).

Owners are responsible for installing and maintaining their private buoys according to legal standards, or as directed by the TC Minister.

Private Buoys must include but not limited to:

  1. the text ‘PRIV’ on both sites
  2. Indicate who owns the buoy and contact information
  3. text needs to be bilingual,
  4. reflective tape 4 inches wide placed around the buoy’s circumference
  5. from a 2021 price check, cost ranges from $250 to $650 per buoy.


Should you be planning to install a private buoy, we invite you to consult with the Association Executive.  (Exception: water intake markers provided they are within a reasonably short distance from your shore and do not impact navigation). Water intake markers are not considered to be private buoys and they should not conflict with the navigational buoy regulations (e.g. they should not be red or green). It is recommended that white/orange markers should be used for water intake.

Please provide the purpose and rationale for the buoy(s). The Association Executive will provide advice and guidance as to the appropriateness of the buoy, that ownership responsibilities and liability lie with the owner and that the expectation that specific requirements as per TC PBRs are followed.

We all share this lake and appreciate collaboration in addressing actions that potentially impact all.