Proposed amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations

CANADA SHIPPING ACT, 2001 (CSA 2001)
REGULATORY AMENDMENT PROJECT
PUBLIC CONSULTATION

SMALL VESSEL REGULATIONS

CANADIAN MARINE ADVISORY COUNCIL (CMAC)
Spring 2016
INFORMATION PAPER

Please forward your comments to:
Larry Spears at Email larry.spears@tc.gc.ca or
Honey Walsh at Email honey.walsh@tc.gc.ca
Small and Fishing Vessels
Design and Equipment Standards and Boating Safety
Transport Canada, Marine Safety and Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5

Fax: 613-991-4818

Email: Email cmac-ccmc@tc.gc.ca

RDIMS# 9331106

This information Paper has been prepared for comment and discussion.

Responsible Authority

Luc Brisebois, Executive Director, Domestic Vessel Regulatory Oversight and Boating Safety

INTRODUCTION:

The proposed amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations are provided for discussion. The scope of these amendments includes pleasure craft requirements as they relate to the following:

  1. Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUP)
  2. Pyrotechnic distress signals
  3. Pleasure craft licensing

The proposed regulatory amendments will address a number of issues identified by various stakeholders in partnership with Transport Canada. This discussion paper is an important part of the process to realize the goal of achieving a responsible, reasonable and thoughtful approach to regulatory amendment in consultation with Canadians.

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this discussion paper is to present proposed amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations for the Spring 2016 consultation session at the Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC).

STATUS:

Regulatory amendment submissions for the Small Vessel Regulations are anticipated to be pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette in the Spring 2017.

BACKGROUND:

Safety equipment carriage requirements and the vessel licence requirements for pleasure craft in Canada are governed by the Small Vessel Regulations (SVR).

Item 1 – Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)

Since the latest version of the SVR came into force in May 2010, a new vessel type/activity, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), has gathered interest around the world and continues to grow in popularity in Canada. Although it originated as a surfing activity, it has evolved into a paddle activity that takes place on all water-body types. When used as a surfing activity, Transport Canada does not consider this activity a navigating vessel and, therefore, does not regulate it. However, the paddle community has recognized the potential of this craft and has adapted it for navigation purposes on rivers, lakes and oceans in all types of conditions. As a new activity to Canada, some discussions have taken place surrounding appropriate safety requirements for SUP. Paddle Canada, a national organization representing the paddle community that provides SUP courses and certifies SUP instructors, as well as others have expressed support for the wearing of flotation devices while paddling SUP. The current SVR make it mandatory for SUP to carry all equipment, including a PFD, similar to other vessel types. Although the SVR do contain exceptions for certain vessel types provided an equivalent level of safety is provided, no such exception is provided for SUP. Without such an exception that would take into consideration the nature of SUP, the current approach has been acknowledged by many within the paddle community as unreasonable and inconsistent with the requirements for some other vessel types. An amendment to the SVR is proposed to ensure an appropriate and reasonable approach to safety equipment is applied.

Similar provisions may be considered for non-pleasure human powered vessels.

Item 2 – Pyrotechnic Distress Signals (Flares)

Subject to certain exceptions, the Small Vessel Regulations require all vessels over 6 m in length to carry flares on bodies of water where they can be more than one nautical mile from shore. Flares are one of the means used to signal distress by notifying rescuers of an emergency or aiding rescuers to pin point the location of a known vessel in distress.

The recreational boating community and enforcement agencies have expressed concern over the difficulty of dealing with expired flares and the environmental impact resulting from their disposal. Moreover, the quantity of flares required by the SVR for pleasure craft is seen by many as excessive. Various changes have occurred in the boating environment since the flare requirement was first introduced and technological advances in electronic communications and SAR alert systems have provided new ways for boaters to communicate. Improved navigation systems and increased boating traffic have also changed the equipment needs of recreational boaters.

Transport Canada is proposing an option to reduce the number of mandatory flares for multiple vessel categories while maintaining an equivalent level of safety. This option will help alleviate the unnecessary purchase of flares for circumstances where they do not add significantly to safety and reduce the hazards and environmental impact resulting from expired flares.

The proposed amendments would allow a 50 percent reduction in the number of each type of flare required to be carried if the vessel [is being operated within [3] [5] nautical miles from shore and] is equipped with a means of two-way radio communication, a 406 MHz PLB or EPIRB. In addition, the proposed amendments include additional options for the carriage of some smoke signals as an alternative to handheld or rocket flares for vessels operating primarily in daylight.

Similar provisions may be considered for non-pleasure vessels.

Item 3 – Pleasure Craft Licence (PCL)

When the validity period for pleasure craft licences was introduced in the Small Vessel Regulations, the word updated was included in section 106 in error. This proposal is to remove the word update from the regulatory text.

Currently if a boat owner applies for an update, the update will be issued with a further 10 year validity period from the day of which the update was issued. Removing the word update will prevent boat owners to update their information in order to avoid expiry.

DETAILS ON THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS:

Item 1 – SUP

The purpose of this regulatory amendment is to include regulatory text for stand up paddleboard under Section 220 “Exception for Human-Powered Pleasure craft” which uses relatively straight forward language as provided below:

220. If every person on board a paddleboat, a watercycle, a sealed-hull, sit-on-top kayak or a stand up paddleboard is wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket of an appropriate size, the paddleboat, watercycle, kayak or stand up paddle board is required to carry on board only the following safety equipment: (a) a sound-signaling device; and (b) a watertight flashlight, if the paddleboat, watercycle or kayak is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.

If SUP comply with the proposed amendment above they would be exempted from the carriage of equipment included in the tables in Section 210 and Section 211 of Subpart 2, Human-Powered Pleasure Craft.

Item 2 – Pyrotechnic Distress Signals (Flares)

The proposed regulatory amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations providing for additional options for the carriage of smoke signals as part of the required distress signals would involve amendments to the following Tables in Section 205 and Section 210 and to the text in Section 218. The option of reducing the number of pyrotechnics of each type by 50% would be incorporated into Section 213. The amendments would be as shown below.

205. A pleasure craft of a length set out in column 1 of the table to this section shall carry on board the visual signals set out in column 2.


Item
Column 1
Length
Column 2
Visual Signals
1. not more than 6 m
  1. a watertight flashlight; or
  2. three pyrotechnic distress signals not more than one of which is a smoke signal
2. more than 6 m but not
more than 9 m
  1. a watertight flashlight; and
  2. six pyrotechnic distress signals not more than two of which are smoke signals
3. more than 9 m
  1. a watertight flashlight; and
  2. twelve pyrotechnic distress signals not more than six of which are smoke signals

210. A human-powered pleasure craft shall carry on board, for the category of life-saving appliance set out in column 1 of the table to this section, the life-saving appliance set out in column 2 as indicated in that column.


Item
Column 1
Category of Life-Saving Appliance
Column 2
Life-Saving Appliance
1. Personal life-saving appliances
  1. a reboarding device, unless the vertical height that must be climbed in order to reboard the pleasure craft is less than 0.5 m; and
  2. a buoyant heaving line of not less than 15 m in length
2. Visual signals if the human-powered pleasure craft is more than 6 m in length, a watertight flashlight and six pyrotechnic distress signals not more than two of which are smoke signals

218. If every person on board a personal watercraft is wearing a personal flotation device or a lifejacket of an appropriate size, the personal watercraft is required to carry on board only the following safety equipment:

  1. a sound-signalling device;
  2. a watertight flashlight or three pyrotechnic distress signals no more than one of which is a smoke signal;
  3. a magnetic compass, if the personal watercraft is navigated out of sight of seamarks; and;
  4. navigation lights that meet the requirements of the Collision Regulations, if the personal watercraft is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.

213. (3) for vessels more than 6 metres in length the number of pyrotechnic distress signals in Section 205 and in Section 210 may be reduced by 50 percent for each type required if the vessel [is operated within [3] [5] nautical miles from shore and the vessel] is equipped with;

  1. A means of two-way radio communication or;
  2. A 406 MHz PLB worn by the vessel operator or;
  3. A 406 MHz EPIRB
Item 3 – Pleasure Craft Licence (PCL)

The proposed amendment will remove the word “update” from section 106.

Section 106 of the Regulations would be amended by the following:

106. A pleasure craft licence is valid for a period of 10 years beginning on the day on which it is issued, transferred, or renewed.

NEXT STEPS:

Following Spring 2016 National CMAC stakeholders comments will be considered, and this information will be used going forward as part of the Government of Canada regulatory process. As part of the process a formal comment period will be provided following pre-publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette in the Spring 2017.

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