Carrying lifejackets on board passenger vessels - SSB No.: 14/2020 (modified July 29, 2020)

RDIMS No .: 15932670
Date (Y-M-D) : 2020-05-25

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This bulletin is a reminder for passenger vessel owners, masters, crew, and operators that passenger vessels must carry at least one lifejacket of the proper size for each person onboard. This bulletin also reminds parents of infantsFootnote 1 of the carriage requirements for infant lifejackets on Canadian vessels.


This bulletin applies to vessels certified to carry passengers that are:

  • more than 15 gross tonnage; or
  • 15 gross tonnage or less, and carry more than 12 passengers.


The Life Saving Equipment Regulations (LSER) require passenger vessels to have one lifejacket for each person on board, including enough lifejackets suitable for children. The amount of children’s lifejackets passenger vessels must carry are as follows:

  • at least 10% of the number of persons authorized to be carried on board; or
  • one for each child carried on board.

Whichever estimate provides the higher number is the amount of lifejackets that must be carried.

The LSER does not require Canadian vessels to carry infant lifejackets, as there have been no design standards for these sizes until recently. The proposed Vessel Construction and Equipment Regulations (VCER), once published, will require all passenger vessels 24 metres in length and above to carry lifejackets for children less than 100 cm in height and weighing less than 15 kg. Until the VCER are published, and the requirements of the Small Vessel RegulationsFootnote 2 are amended, parents are encouraged to bring their own infant lifejackets when on board any vessel.

Responsibilities of the Master and Authorized Representative

Section 10 of the Fire and Boat Drills Regulations (FBDR) requires the master of a passenger vessel to record the number of persons on board. Additionally, section 11 requires the master of certainFootnote 3 passenger vessels to record, before departure, passenger details in a way that distinguishes between adults, children and infantsFootnote 4.

In order to meet subsection 106(1) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001), the authorized representative of the vessel must ensure that procedures are in place for the safe operation of a vessel.

What you need to know

The authorized representative must ensure that a vessel has efficient procedures in place to:

  • record the number of persons onboard for each voyage;
  • record the name, gender, and age of each person on boardFootnote 5; and
  • ensure the vessel will depart with enough lifejackets of proper size for all persons on board.

Before leaving, the master must make sure that the vessel has enough lifejackets of proper size for all persons on board.


1. lifejackets
2. children
3. passenger

Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:

Véronique Bérubé

Transport Canada
Marine Safety and Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

Contact us at: Email: or Telephone: 1-855-859-3123 (Toll Free).