On the water is the ultimate way to experience the Rideau Canal. When you cruise this UNESCO World Heritage Site in your boat, canoe or kayak, you join a long tradition of visitors who have discovered fun and adventure along its length. Generations of boaters and paddlers have travelled these waters before you and now the Rideau Canal beckons you to make memories of your own.
A picturesque playground for pleasure boaters and paddlers
Brush up on the information you need to have a safe and enjoyable trip. These safety guides below provide valuable information and practical tips that will help you along your way.
Boating Safely: Everything you need to know (Parks Canada)
Safe Boating Guide: Safety Tips and Requirements for Pleasure Craft (Transport Canada)
In case of emergency
Call 911 or *OPP (*677)
Also call the Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton at 1-800-267-7270 and report your situation
Search and Rescue – VHF Channel 16
Boating search and rescue operations in Ontario are jointly coordinated by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Coast Guard and other agencies. Marine VHF distress channel, Channel 16, is continuously monitored.
– The distress call, MAYDAY, indicates that the sender is threatened by grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance
– The message, PANPAN, means that the sender requires help on an urgent basis
Plan your trip:
Kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) can be rented at outfitters in numerous locations along the Rideau Canal. Check local listings or regional tourism centres.
Rideau Tours out of Chaffey’s Lock offers guided tours and luxury paddling
Drifters Outdoors near Kemptville rents kayaks, canoes and SUPs
Please note: Parks Canada does not currently offer paddlecraft rentals at locksations.
Passes and permits
Kayakers and canoers are allowed to use any of the locks with the purchase of a lockage permit. Permits can be purchased for single lockages, 6-day trips, or season-long usage.
See Parks Canada’s page on Passes and permits
Camping at lockstations
Paddlers are welcome to camp at most lockstations on the Rideau Canal for a small nightly fee. Reservations are not required, but space is allocated at the discretion of the Lockmaster on a first-come, first-served basis.
See Parks Canada’s page on Camping at lockstations
When is the Rideau Canal open for boating?
Parks Canada’s navigation season runs annually from mid-May to mid-October. During seasonal hours of operation, friendly lock staff will be on-hand to provide lockage and mooring services to boaters, and check-in any overnight visitors. Washroom facilities and limited parking will also be available to the public during these hours. See Parks Canada website for current Hours and Services
Where can I rent a boat?
There are several options for boat rentals along the Rideau Canal. Check local listings or tourism information centres in your area of interest. Rideau-Info.com also maintains a list of options.
Licensed Local Operators
See Parks Canadas website for licensed local operators offering houseboat rentals and/or guided tours on the Rideau Canal.
Where can I find Parks Canada operated boat launches?
Parks Canada operates boat launches at the following lockstations:
- Hogs Back
- Smiths Falls Detached
See Parks Canada’s Fees page for price details.
Are standup paddleboards (SUPs) allowed?
Yes, they are permitted in the navigation channel, but you may not remain on your paddleboard to lock through at lockstations.