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Small Vessel Regulations (SOR/2010-91)

Regulations are current to 2024-06-19 and last amended on 2023-12-20. Previous Versions

Small Vessel Regulations



Registration 2010-04-29

Small Vessel Regulations

P.C. 2010-546 2010-04-29

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport, pursuant to paragraph 35(1)(d) and sections 120 and 207 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001Footnote a, hereby makes the annexed Small Vessel Regulations.


  •  (1) The definitions in this subsection apply in these Regulations.


    accessible means capable of being reached for inspection, removal or maintenance without removal of any elements of the permanent vessel structure. (accessible)


    Act means the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. (Loi)

    change of use

    change of use means that the use of a vessel that was a pleasure craft has changed in such a manner that the vessel is no longer a pleasure craft. (changement d’utilisation)

    classification society

    classification society means a classification society that is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). (société de classification)

    construction standards

    construction standards means the Construction Standards for Small Vessels, TP 1332, published by the Department of Transport. (normes de construction)

    engine space

    engine space means any space that contains a permanently installed propulsion engine or auxiliary engine, including any connected spaces. (compartiment moteur)

    final preparation

    final preparation, in respect of an official competition, means activities to prepare for the competition that take place at the competition venue during the days and times specified by the organizer of the competition. (derniers préparatifs)

    formal training

    formal training means practice for an official competition under the supervision of a coach or an official certified by a governing body. (entraînement officiel)

    governing body

    governing body means a national governing body of a water sport

    • (a) that publishes rules and criteria respecting conduct and safety requirements for skill demonstrations, formal training or official competitions; and

    • (b) that

      • (i) certifies coaches and coaching programs,

      • (ii) certifies officials and programs for officials, or

      • (iii) recommends training and safety guidelines for certified coaches or officials. (organisme dirigeant)


    ignition-protected, in respect of an electrical device, means that the device is designed and constructed in such a manner that under its design operating conditions

    • (a) it will not ignite a flammable hydrocarbon mixture surrounding it when an ignition source causes an internal explosion;

    • (b) it is incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy to ignite a hydrocarbon mixture; or

    • (c) its source of ignition is hermetically sealed. (protégé contre l’inflammabilité)

    IMO Resolution MSC.81(70)

    IMO Resolution MSC.81(70) means the annex to International Maritime Organization Resolution MSC.81(70), Revised Recommendation on Testing of Life-Saving Appliances. (résolution MSC.81(70) de l’OMI)

    ISO 13590

    ISO 13590 means International Standard Organization Standard ISO 13590, Small Craft — Personal Watercraft — Construction and System Installation Requirements. (ISO 13590)


    length, in respect of a vessel, means the distance measured from the forward end of the foremost outside surface of the hull shell to the aft end of the aftermost outside surface of the hull shell. (longueur)


    lifebuoy means a SOLAS lifebuoy or a small vessel lifebuoy. (bouée de sauvetage)


    lifejacket means a small vessel lifejacket, a standard lifejacket, a Class 1 or Class 2 lifejacket or a SOLAS lifejacket. (gilet de sauvetage)

    life raft

    life raft means a SOLAS life raft, a reduced capacity life raft or a coastal life raft. (radeau de sauvetage)

    LSA Code

    LSA Code means the annex to International Maritime Organization Resolution MSC.48(66), International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code. (recueil LSA)

    manual propelling device

    manual propelling device means a set of oars, a paddle or another device that uses human power to propel a vessel. (dispositif de propulsion manuelle)


    muffler means an expansion chamber within the exhaust line specifically designed to reduce engine noise, but does not include a muffler cut-out, straight exhaust, gutted muffler, glass pack muffler, by-pass or similar device. (silencieux)

    official competition

    official competition means a competition or regatta organized by a governing body or by a club or an organization that is affiliated with a governing body. (compétition officielle)


    owner, in respect of a vessel other than a pleasure craft, means the authorized representative as defined in section 2 of the Act. (propriétaire)

    passenger-carrying vessel

    passenger-carrying vessel means a vessel that usually carries or that is carrying one or more passengers. (bâtiment à passagers)

    permanently installed

    permanently installed means securely fastened so that tools must be used for removal. (fixé à demeure)

    personal watercraft

    personal watercraft means a vessel less than 4 m in length that uses an internal combustion engine powering a water-jet pump as its primary source of propulsion, and that is designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel and not within the confines of the hull. (motomarine)


    power, in respect of an engine, means the power, in kilowatts, that the manufacturer declares has been determined in accordance with International Standard ISO 8665, Small Craft — Marine Propulsion Engines and Systems — Power Measurements and Declarations, second edition, August 1, 1994. (puissance)


    power-driven, in respect of a vessel, means that the vessel is propelled by an engine or has an engine on board to propel it. (à propulsion mécanique)

    product certification body

    product certification body means a body that is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, or by any other national accreditation organization that is a member of the International Accreditation Forum Multilateral Recognition Arrangement, to give third-party written assurance that a product meets the specified requirements for the product, including granting of initial certification and maintenance of the certification. (organisme de certification de produits)

    pyrotechnic distress signal

    pyrotechnic distress signal means a rocket parachute flare, a multi-star flare, a hand flare, or a buoyant or hand smoke signal. (signal de détresse pyrotechnique)

    readily accessible

    readily accessible means capable of being reached easily and safely under emergency conditions without the use of tools. (facilement accessible)

    reboarding device

    reboarding device means a ladder, lifting harness or other device that does not include any part of the vessel’s propulsion unit and that assists a person to gain access to the vessel from the water. (dispositif de remontée à bord)


    rebuilder means a person who is engaged in the business of rebuilding vessels to sell to end users or resellers. (reconstructeur)

    recommended practices and standards

    recommended practices and standards means the recommended practices and standards for marine use issued by a marine classification society, standards development organization, industrial or trade organization, government, government agency or international body. (normes et pratiques recommandées)

    safety craft

    safety craft means a vessel, aircraft or other means of transportation that has a crew on board and that is used for surveillance and rescue activities during formal training, final preparation or official competitions. (véhicule de secours)


    sailboard means a vessel that has a totally enclosed hull fitted with a free-standing mast attached to the hull through a universal joint and that is propelled by a sail. (planche à voile)


    SOLAS means the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974. (SOLAS)

    sound-signalling device

    sound-signalling device means a pealess whistle or a compressed-gas or electric horn. (dispositif de signalisation sonore)

    testing laboratory

    testing laboratory means a laboratory that is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, or by any other national accreditation organization that is a member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, to produce accurate results for the specific tests or calibrations that are listed on its Scope of Accreditation. (laboratoire d’essai)


    towing, except for the purposes of Part 10, means the action of pulling a vessel or an object astern or alongside, or pushing a vessel or an object ahead, but does not include pulling or pushing, in the course of the vessel’s normal operations, a floating object or vessel that has a significantly smaller displacement than the vessel’s displacement. (remorquage)

    TP 14475

    TP 14475 means the Canadian Life Saving Appliance Standard, published by the Department of Transport. (TP 14475)


    tug means a vessel that is constructed or converted primarily for the purpose of towing, but does not include a vessel that is constructed or converted for the purpose of

    • (a) salvaging logs; or

    • (b) managing oil pollution booms and associated equipment. (remorqueur)


    workboat means a vessel that is not a passenger-carrying vessel, a human-powered vessel or a pleasure craft. (bateau de travail)

  • (2) For the purposes of these Regulations,

    • (a) a reference to the date of construction, manufacture or rebuilding of a vessel shall be read as a reference to the date on which the actual construction, manufacture or rebuilding starts;

    • (b) a reference to “Administration” in the LSA Code or in IMO Resolution MSC.81(70) shall be read as a reference to “Minister”;

    • (c) the word “should” in IMO Resolution MSC.81(70) shall be read as “shall”;

    • (d) the term “visual signal” in the LSA Code shall be read as “pyrotechnic distress signal”;

    • (e) the term “pyrotechnics” in IMO Resolution MSC.81(70) shall be read as “pyrotechnic distress signal”;

    • (f) the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States shall be read without reference to “satisfactory to the Commandant” and “accepted by the Commandant under §159.010 of this chapter”.

  • (3) For the purpose of the French version of the Regulations, the term “moto aquatique” in ISO 13590 shall be read as “motomarine”.

  • (4) A provision in the American Boat and Yacht Council standards referred to in these Regulations that is expressed as a recommendation shall be read as a requirement unless it is incompatible with the vessel’s construction.

  • (5) Except as otherwise indicated in these Regulations, any reference in these Regulations to a document is a reference to that document as amended from time to time.

  • (6) In the event of an inconsistency between a provision in a document incorporated by reference and a provision in these Regulations, the provision in these Regulations shall prevail.


  •  (1) These Regulations apply in respect of

    • (a) a pleasure craft;

    • (b) a passenger-carrying vessel of not more than 15 gross tonnage that carries not more than 12 passengers and is not a human-powered vessel;

    • (c) a workboat of not more than 15 gross tonnage; and

    • (d) a human-powered vessel other than a pleasure craft.

  • (2) These Regulations do not apply in respect of

    • (a) a fishing vessel;

    • (b) a rescue boat or lifeboat that is carried on board a vessel exclusively to meet a requirement for life-saving appliances set out in other regulations made under the Act;

    • (c) a vessel in respect of which the Special-purpose Vessels Regulations apply; or

    • (d) an air cushion vehicle of more than 4 500 kg all up weight.


 No person shall operate or permit another person to operate a vessel unless the safety equipment required by these Regulations is carried on board the vessel and the equipment meets the requirements of these Regulations.

Substitute Safety Equipment

  •  (1) If the Minister determines that there are circumstances in which equipment other than the safety equipment required by these Regulations provides a level of safety at least equivalent to that provided by the required safety equipment, the other equipment may be substituted for the required safety equipment in those circumstances.

  • (2) To determine the level of safety provided by the substituted equipment in the circumstances, the Minister shall assess the following factors:

    • (a) the nature of the activity;

    • (b) the environmental conditions;

    • (c) the nature of the risks to which persons on board are exposed;

    • (d) the specific characteristics of the equipment;

    • (e) the recommended practices and standards to which the equipment conforms;

    • (f) the manner in which the equipment will be used; and

    • (g) the ability of the equipment to protect a person from injury.

  • (3) The substitute equipment shall bear a mark or label indicating that it conforms to the recommended practices and standards applicable to that type of equipment.

Safety Equipment — Accessibility and Maintenance

  •  (1) The safety equipment required by these Regulations shall be

    • (a) in good working order;

    • (b) readily accessible and available for immediate use; and

    • (c) except for a life raft, maintained and replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations.

  • (2) Portable fire extinguishers and fixed fire extinguishing systems required by these Regulations shall be kept fully charged.


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