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Commercial Vessel Requirements



As of April 2007:

DISCLAIMER: This information is a brief summary provided for convenience only. Transport Canada Regulations should be consulted for the full requirements, or contact Heads-Up Navigation.


If you are a crewmember, Master or Operator of any vessel engaged in any type of commercial work, you must have certification.  Fines up to $5000. will be given to commercial operators and their crew if they are working without proper certification and those Original certificates must be aboard for viewing by authorities.   

Safety Courses:

Depending upon the size of vessel, type of activity or distance from shore, you will be required to have one or more of the many safety courses required by Transport Canada. 

Type of Vessel:

The regulations that apply to your situation will depend on whether your vessel is commercial (non-pleasure), a fishing vessel, a special purpose vessel or recreational (pleasure craft). Regulations and requirements to safeguard a vessel and its occupants increase as the risk increases. All commercial vessels must be inspected and approved by TC before being put into service, they must also be registered with the Small Commercial Vessel Registry.

Additional Factors:

As the vessel size, number of passengers, operating area, and environmental risk factors increase, more stringent requirements are added to mitigate these risks. In other words small commercial vessels navigating in sheltered waters require less regulations and safety equipment than sea-going vessels as well as constructions standards and operator certification.

Voyage Classification:

A voyage classification will be assigned to your vessel according to your area of operation. Most small vessels operate in Sheltered Waters  or Near Coastal Class 2 Waters. Voyage classifications have changed recently, please check with your local TC office.

Crew Work-boats:

Operators of some work-boats which are used for crew purposes that carry less than 6 passengers, are under 8 meters in length and work only in sheltered waters or rivers may only need a PCOC card. All others require an SVOP.  Check with your local Transport Canada office to find out if you meet this criteria.

Charter Fishing:

Those who work for themselves, doing charter fishing, must have their Marine First Aid, SDV-BS formerly known as MED A 3, ROC-M, Basic Marine First Aid and SVOP in order to comply with Transport Canada standards. Their vessel must also comply with the new rules of the CSA 2001. Stability assessments are a high priority so be prepared to have a TC officer assist you or you will be asked to do your own assessment using the latest TC Transport Publication.

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