Marine safety in Canada

At over 243,000 kilometres, Canada has the world’s longest coastline. Our ports and harbours are important gateways for trade.

Our marine safety program

Our top priority is to help keep boaters and seafarers safe in Canada while protecting our coasts. We develop and implement policies and regulations, and administer the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. We oversee both recreational and commercial vessel safety. We also partner with other federal government departments and agencies to improve Canada’s marine safety and security system.

We deliver initiatives that protect Canada’s coasts for future generations while growing the economy. In partnership with Indigenous and coastal communities, we're developing a world-leading marine safety system to meet Canada’s unique needs, and improve our ability to prevent and respond to marine pollution incidents, from coast to coast to coast.

Recreational boating

For each type of boating activity, there are specific skills needed and procedures to follow for a safe and enjoyable experience. The Office of Boating Safety encourages safe boating practices and compliance with regulations.

Commercial vessels

Canadian registered vessels are active in domestic commercial activities and in trade between Canada and the United States. For other international destinations, Canadian shippers mostly rely on foreign registered vessels.

Navigation Protection Program

The Navigation Protection Program helps keep Canada’s navigable waters open for transport and recreation. The program oversees:

  • Administers Canadian Navigable Waters Act, helping restore and protect your right to move freely through Canada's waterways.
  • Enforces the Private Buoys Regulations (PBR), under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Buoys are important to the safety and well-being of the boating community.
  • Oversees the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, keeping vessel owners responsible and improving our ability to take action on abandoned and hazardous vessels.

Ship Safety Bulletins

Ship Safety Bulletins are an important source for accurate and up-to-date ship safety information. They are especially useful if you are an owner, operator or authorized representative of a commercial vessel or a marine industry stakeholder.

See the latest bulletins

Oceans Protection Plan

In 2016, we launched the Oceans Protection Plan, the largest investment we have ever made to protect our coasts and waterways, improve marine safety system, and strengthen incident prevention and response by working with Indigenous Peoples, coastal communities, the marine industry, scientists, and stakeholders. These actions will make sure our oceans are cleaner, healthier, and safer for years to come.

Learn more about the Oceans Protection Plan

Compliance and enforcement

We develop, manage and enforce national and international laws and policies governing marine safety and security, and the marine environment.

Learn more about enforcement

Canadian National Seafarers’ Welfare Board

The Seafarers’ Welfare Board is comprised of shipowners, seafarers’ welfare and labour representatives, port representatives and government.

Learn more about the Board