Non-Pleasure Vessel or Pleasure Craft?

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Pleasure Craft Non-Pleasure Vessel
(often called "commercial")

A vessel used for pleasure, recreation or daily living is a pleasure craft.

A vessel used for anything other than pleasure, recreation or daily living is a non-pleasure vessel.

All types of vessels (canoes, motorboats, sailboats, etc.) can be pleasure craft or non-pleasure vessels depending on what they are used for.
Whether a vessel is rented, chartered or bought, it can be a pleasure craft or a non-pleasure vessel depending on what it is used for.

Is my vessel a pleasure craft?

Are you using your vessel for your own pleasure/recreation?
YES? Pleasure craft.

Are the people on board the vessel your guests*, friends or family?
YES? Pleasure craft.

*Generally, guests are people carried on board a vessel used exclusively for pleasure and without remuneration or any object of profit.

Is my vessel a non-pleasure vessel?
Are the people on board the vessel paying to be on board?
YES? Non-pleasure vessel.

Other than the crew, are the people on board the vessel as part of their job?
YES? Non-pleasure vessel.

Is the operator using the vessel to provide a service?
YES? Non-pleasure vessel.

Is the vessel operated by the government?
YES? Non-pleasure vessel.

The information above is intended for use as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

Read some general examples of pleasure craft and non-pleasure vessels.
Read more about using the same vessel as a pleasure craft and as a non-pleasure vessel or if you change the way you use your vessel.
Read more about guided excursions and pleasure craft outings.
Read more about vessels used by camps, yacht clubs or non-profit organizations.

Daily Living

A vessel that is used for pleasure includes a vessel that is used as a part of your everyday life but not as part of your job/employment. “Daily living” includes:

  • Travelling to and from work or school or as an essential means of transportation.
  • Hunting, fishing or trapping to feed yourself or your family (subsistence hunting or fishing) or for social or ceremonial purposes.

The following examples of common situations are provided to help vessel owners and Marine Safety Inspectors consistently apply the definition of pleasure craft. The examples are not intended to cover all possible situations and should be considered as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

Examples
Pleasure Craft Non-Pleasure Vessel

Example: A vessel is used by an individual or group to harvest fish for their own food, social or ceremonial purposes.
Explanation: This is a daily living activity, which is a type of pleasure activity.

Example: A vessel is used by an individual or group to fish under a commercial harvest agreement.
Explanation: The vessel is engaged in a commercial fishing activity. The object of this activity is profit, and the vessel is used as part of the operator's employment

Example: A vessel is used by a teacher to travel to the school that they work at.
Explanation: The vessel is used by an individual to travel to and from work which is a daily living activity.

Example: A vessel is used by a construction company for the transportation of employees and other persons to and from job sites.
Explanation: The vessel is used to provide a service (transportation) for the purposes of a business activity.

Renting and Chartering

Whether the vessel is rented, chartered or bought, it can be a pleasure craft or non-pleasure vessel depending on what it is used for.
If you rent or charter a vessel and hire a captain and/or crew to operate it, the vessel is a pleasure craft only if all of the following statements are true:

  1. The vessel is used only for your pleasure or recreation and the pleasure or recreation of the people you invite on board (i.e. the vessel is not used for commercial purposes);
  2. You have the unrestricted right to hire and fire the captain and/or crew; and
  3. The vessel’s owner no longer has any direct control over the operation of the vessel.

If the owner or someone representing the owner of a rented or chartered vessel is on board, Marine Safety employees will assume that the owner is in operational control of the vessel and the vessel is a non-pleasure craft (specifically a passenger-carrying vessel or passenger vessel), unless the owner demonstrates otherwise.

Examples
Pleasure Craft Non-Pleasure Vessel

Example: An individual rents or charters a vessel from a boat rental company and uses that vessel for pleasure.
Explanation: The vessel is used by the operator for pleasure. Even though the act of renting or chartering the vessel is a commercial act, the vessel is a pleasure craft.

Example: An individual (or organization) rents or charters a vessel from a vessel rental company and uses the vessel to transport workers to and from a work-site.
Explanation: The vessel is being used for a business activity.

Example: A vessel is rented or chartered from a vessel rental company by an individual for recreational purposes. The person has hired a captain to operate the vessel. The renter/charterer has the right to hire any qualified captain.
Explanation: The owner no longer has operational control of the vessel. Any captain with the necessary qualifications may operate the vessel and there is no connection between the captain and the rental company.

Example: A vessel is chartered and the charterer is required to hire the owner as the captain or to choose from a list of captains approved by the owner.
Explanation: The owner still has operational control of the vessel and is providing a service to the people on board. The vessel is a non-pleasure vessel, specifically a "passenger-carrying vessel" or "passenger vessel".

The above examples of common situations are provided to help vessel owners and Marine Safety Inspectors consistently apply the definition of pleasure craft. The examples are not intended to cover all possible situations and should be considered as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

General Examples

The following examples of common situations are provided to help vessel owners and Marine Safety Inspectors consistently apply the definition of pleasure craft. The examples are not intended to cover all possible situations and should be considered as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

Examples
Pleasure Craft Non-Pleasure Vessel

Example: A vessel is used by its owner to take friends and family on the vessel.
Explanation: The vessel is being used for the pleasure of the operator and the people on board.

Example: A vessel is used to transport people from one point to another for a fee (such as a water taxi).
Explanation: The vessel is being used to provide a service (transportation).

Example: A vessel provided with a rented cottage for the personal use of the people who rented the cottage.
Explanation: The vessel is operated by the cottagers for their pleasure/recreational purposes.

Example: A vessel with a skipper provided is used to offer tours as part of a hotel/resort activity.
Explanation: The vessel is being used to provide a service (transportation / sightseeing).

Example: A vessel owned by the operator is used to transport building materials to the operator's summer cottage.
Explanation: The vessel is being used for daily living or subsistence purposes.

Example: A vessel is used by an employer to transport building materials to a commercial construction site for a new building.
Explanation: The vessel is being used as part of a business activity.

Example: A vessel owned by the operator is used to transport building materials as a favour to a friend. The friend pays for fuel and expenses.
Explanation: Even though there is an exchange of money, there is no object of profit and the vessel is still being used for the pleasure of the operator.

Example: A vessel is used to transport goods for the general public. A fee is paid for carrying the goods.
Explanation: The vessel is used to provide a service, and there is an object of profit.

Example: A vessel is used by the owner of a summer cottage to work on the cottage's docks.
Explanation: Even though work is taking place, it is not paid work and is for the pleasure or daily living purposes of the operator.

Example: A vessel is used by a construction company as a platform for working on bridge piers and for painting floating structures.
Explanation: The vessel is used for performing work as part of a business activity.

 

Example: A vessel is used by the CEO of a corporation to conduct business activities – employees of the corporation hold meetings on board and conduct other employment-related activities on board.
Explanation: The vessel is being used as part of a business activity.

Example: A vessel provided without a guide at a sport fishing lodge to people paying to stay at the lodge.
Explanation: The vessel is operated by the people staying at the lodge for their own pleasure.

Example: A vessel provided with a guide at a sport fishing lodge to people paying to stay at the lodge.
Explanation: The guide is the operator of the vessel and is using it to provide a service.

Multiple Uses

A vessel may be used for non-pleasure purposes at one time and for pleasure at another.

When a vessel is used for both non-pleasure and pleasure purposes:

  • The permanent aspects of the vessel, such as its construction and registration, must meet the requirements for a non-pleasure vessel.
  • The aspects of the vessel that are not permanent, such as the safety equipment carried and the certification of the operator, may change depending on whether the vessel is being used for pleasure or non-pleasure at any given time. However, it is recommended that vessels used for both non-pleasure and pleasure purposes operate in compliance with non-pleasure vessel requirements at all times.
Examples

A vessel used for sight-seeing tours during the week, is used by the operator to take his family on a picnic on the weekend.

Areal estate agent uses a vessel for the transportation of his/her clients as part of his/her real estate business and also for recreational purposes.

The above examples of common situations are provided to help vessel owners and Marine Safety Inspectors consistently apply the definition of pleasure craft. The examples are not intended to cover all possible situations and should be considered as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

Change of Use

Because a vessel is defined by the way it is used, if its use changes, you need to re-assess your vessel to determine if it is a pleasure craft or non-pleasure vessel. 

Examples
Pleasure Craft Non-Pleasure Vessel

Example: A fishing vessel, no longer used for commercial fishing and used instead as a live-aboard.
Explanation: There is no continuing commercial purpose to the vessel and the vessel is currently used for daily living.

Example: A vessel originally purchased as a pleasure craft that is being used for commercial fishing.
Explanation: The vessel is now used for purposes other than pleasure and therefore it is a non-pleasure craft.

The above examples of common situations are provided to help vessel owners and Marine Safety Inspectors consistently apply the definition of pleasure craft. The examples are not intended to cover all possible situations and should be considered as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

Guided Excursions

“Guided excursion” is defined in the Small Vessel Regulations section 300, as “a non-competitive outdoor recreational activity or excursion led by a person in charge of the activity or excursion during which the participants use a human-powered vessel”.

Pleasure Craft Outing Guided Excursion

A group of human-powered vessels (such as canoes or kayaks) that are all being operated for pleasure.

A group of human-powered vessels (such as canoes or kayaks) led by a guide in a lead vessel.

All the vessels involved are pleasure craft.

Only the lead vessel with the guide in it is a non-pleasure vessel. All the vessels following the guide are pleasure craft.

No one is profiting from the outing. Even if one of the vessels acts as a lead vessel, as long as the operator of that vessel is leading the group for the purpose of their own pleasure, the lead vessel is still a pleasure craft.

The guide is leading the group for profit or as part of their job.

Examples

Example: One person in a group of friends knows the area well and acts as a leader. 
Explanation: The leader is leading the group for their own pleasure and the group is engaged in a joint recreational activity.

 Example: A group and a paid guide.
Explanation: The guide is leading the group as part of the guide's job/employment for profit.

Example: A Boy Scout leader is teaching the basics of kayaking to a group of scouts prior to engaging in a tour.
Explanation: The Boy Scout leader is teaching the group for their own pleasure and the group is engaged in a joint recreational activity.

 Example: An instructor who is not a member of the Boy Scouts is brought in to teach kayaking to a group of Scouts.
Explanation: The instructor is teaching the group as part of their job/employment for profit.

Example: A camp counsellor leads a group of campers in kayaks.
Explanation: The payment of camp fees is not specifically for the kayaking activity. Even though the camp counsellor is paid, the group activity is peripheral to the purpose of their employment.

 

Example: A non-profit organization which charges fees for training students in advanced canoeing and kayaking techniques
Explanation: The purpose of the persons operating the organization and their employees/volunteers is for the purpose of training, not for pleasure. Fees are paid specifically in relation to the training of students on board vessels.

The above examples of common situations are provided to help vessel owners and Marine Safety Inspectors consistently apply the definition of pleasure craft. The examples are not intended to cover all possible situations and should be considered as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

Vessels Operated by Non-Profit Organizations, Yacht Clubs and Camps

Non-Profit Organizations: A vessel operated by a non-profit organization may be a pleasure craft or a non-pleasure vessel depending on what it is used for. Vessels operated for the purpose of providing a service, even if the service is not for profit, are usually non-pleasure vessels.

Examples: Non-Pleasure Vessels

Example: A vessel operated by a volunteer member of a not-for-profit organization to provide sightseeing opportunities free of charge.
Explanation: An organization has engaged a person to operate the vessel to provide a service – in this case, sight-seeing.

Example: An antique vessel is operated as a floating museum. The vessel travels from place to place and offers tours of the vessel to the public.
Explanation: Even though the vessel is not operated for profit, it is used to provide a service (tours) and the tours are offered generally to the public.

Yacht Clubs: Vessels that are used for pleasure include vessels that are used for joint recreational activities. Joint recreational activities are activities where all the people involved are using the vessel(s) for the pleasure of the group. For yacht clubs, a joint recreational activity includes an activity that meets the following criteria:

  1. The vessel used is wholly owned by or on behalf of a members’ club or organization;
  2. The vessels are used only for the pleasure of members of that club/organization;
  3. Any charges levied are paid into club/organization funds and applied for the general use of the club/organization; and
  4. Members are co-owners of the club/organization
Examples
Pleasure Craft Non-Pleasure Vessel
Example: A vessel owned by a yacht club and used for safety and life guarding at a recreational event.
Explanation: A club member is part owner of the vessel, and the vessel is being operated in support of the joint recreational activity of club members. There is no specific fee associated with this activity.

Example: A vessel owned by a yacht club and used to provide transportation or training to members or non-members for a fee.
Explanation: The vessel is not being used for a joint recreational activity. The fee is being paid directly for the service or training.

Example: A vessel owned by a yacht club and used to access the member’s vessel at anchor or to perform minor works associated with the club’s docks and facilities.
Explanation: A club member is part owner of the vessel, and the vessel is being operated in support of the joint recreational activity of club members. There is no specific fee associated with this activity.

Example: A vessel is used by an instructor to teach students how to safely operate the vessel for recreational purposes. The vessel is owned by the sailing instructor or a recreational boating school.
Explanation: The instructor is the person in charge of the vessel and is using the vessel as part of a business activity.

Example: An individual who owns a vessel hires an instructor to teach that individual and his/her family how to operate the vessel for recreational purposes.
Explanation: The owner of the vessel is in charge of the vessel. The instructor is not the person in charge of the vessel but is assisting the person in charge of the vessel, whose purpose is pleasure.

 

Camps:  Vessels that are used for pleasure include vessels that are used for joint recreational activities. Joint recreational activities are activities where all the people involved are using the vessel(s) for the pleasure of the group. For camps, a joint recreational activity includes an activity that meets the following criteria:

  1. The vessel used is wholly owned by or on behalf of the camp;
  2. The vessels are used only for the pleasure of campers and are not used as a means of essential transportation of goods and/or people; and
  3. Any charges levied are paid as camp fees and applied for the general attendance at the camp.
Examples
Pleasure Craft Non-Pleasure Vessel

Example: A vessel operated by a camp counsellor in which the counsellor gives basic safety instruction to campers. There are no fees charged for the activity.
Explanation: The payment of fees to the camp is not specifically for the training activity. The vessel is used for the pleasure of the campers.

Example: A vessel operated by an instructor at a summer camp who is employed to teach sailing techniques to campers. Fees are paid specifically for the training activity.
Explanation: The fee is being paid specifically for the training and is not paid toward the general cost of the camp.

Example: A vessel operated by camp counsellors or campers at a summer camp when the vessel is used for the pleasure of the group, such as a group kayak outing.
Explanation: There is no object of profit or fee for service, and the activity has a clear recreational focus. 

Example: A vessel used to transport people to and from a summer camp for free.
Explanation: The vessel is being used to provide a service, even though fees are not being paid.

The above examples of common situations are provided to help vessel owners and Marine Safety Inspectors consistently apply the definition of pleasure craft. The examples are not intended to cover all possible situations and should be considered as guidance and not a decision on any specific case. In all cases the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations prevail and the operator shall at all times ensure the safe operation of the vessel.

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