Propeller-Driven Surfboards

Government of Canada

Apr 11, 2022

The latest NMMA Canada newsletter reported on propeller-driven surfboards. We are seeing more and more of these in the United States, especially boards with electric motors and hydrofoil systems.

Propeller-driven surfboard-type vessels are single-person recreational vessels. Unlike traditional non-powered surfboards, propeller-driven surfboards don’t require waves or water current for their operation and instead, are powered by a propeller below the board and controlled via a handheld remote. Like a traditional surfboard, users balance atop the board from a standing position and direct it by shifting their body weight. Popular versions of propeller-driven surfboards are also connected to a hydrofoil arm that lifts the board and rider out of the water once it picks up enough speed. The board will stay raised until it slows down or stops.

Propeller-driven surfboard-type vessels have been banned in Canada since 1999. The ban applies to any surfboard-type vessel that includes a propeller, regardless of whether the propeller has a guard or not. In 1999, most propeller-driven surfboards were homemade and didn’t have to follow any requirements for how they were built or used. This lack of regulations made them risky to use and be around on the water.

Propeller-driven surfboard-type vessels are becoming more popular, in part because safer and more efficient boards are available internationally. Many modern propeller-driven surfboards use an electric motor which is powered by a rechargeable battery, and can reach speeds up to 40 km/hr. While similar boards with other types of motors exist, the most popular ones rely on a propeller. This means that they can’t legally be used in Canada.

Should the Regulations Be Changed?

With safer and more efficient propeller-driven surfboard-type vessels on the market, Canadians want Transport Canada to revisit the ban.

Transport Canada has started looking at ways to update the Small Vessel Regulations to remove the ban and set rules and safety requirements for how propeller-driven surfboard-type vessel and other similar vessels are built and used. If you have an opinion on this, there is an opportunity to participate.

Visit the Lets Talk Transportation page at

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