Update on Interim Registration Guidance – SSB No.: 05/2012

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RDIMS No .: 7435480
Date ( Y-M-D ): 2012-09-28

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Changes to Registration Requirements and Registration Process for Small Non-Pleasure (Commercial) Vessels under Interim Registration Guidance 01/2011:

  • Human-Powered Vessels
  • Small Sailing Vessels
  • Power-Driven Vessels with Motors <10HP (7.5kW)
  • Commercial River Rafts
  • Small Government Vessels
  • Assigned Formal Tonnage (AFT) NEW

This bulletin replaces Ship Safety Bulletin No. 01/2011


This bulletin replaces Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) No. 01/2011 for small non-pleasure (commercial) vessel owners, commercial river raft operators and federal and provincial government departments.


On March 17, 2011, the Minister of Transport announced an interim registration guidance (Ship Safety Bulletin No. 01/2011) explaining that owners did not need to register:

  • Human-Powered Vessels, e.g., canoes or kayaks;
  • Small Sailing Vessels; and
  • Small Power-Driven Vessels (under 10 hp/7.5 kW).

Please Note

Owners of small commercial vessels that are not registered must still comply with all safety regulations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

What's New

  • Effective April 2, 2012, the interim registration guidance now applies to small government vessels of the same classes as exempted non-government vessels;
  • Note: Recent amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA, 2001) authorize exemptions from the registration requirements in subsection 46.(1). The Vessel Registration and Tonnage Regulations are being amended to implement this change.
  • A simplified registration process is in place for those who need or wish to register these vessels in the Small Vessel Register. For details on registration requirements, please visit:
  • Commercial river-rafts must still be registered. However, a simplified process is in place to allow the registration of a fleet of commercial river-rafts in the Small Vessel Register with one application form for a flat rate fee of $50; and
  • Owners can register more than one vessel of the same type as a fleet in the Small Vessel Register with one application form and a flat $50 fee. This allows vessel owners to manage their inventory of vessels, such as adding or removing a vessel from a fleet, without having to inform the Chief Registrar.

Notes to fleet owners

  • Vessels in the same fleet must be of the same type and sub-type (e.g., human-powered such as canoe or workboat with a motor <10hp).
  • Fleets may be registered in the Small Vessel Register only.
  • A “fleet” consists of anywhere between two and 100 vessels. When a fleet exceeds the maximum range assigned, the owner must register a new fleet.
  • One Certificate of Registry and one Official Number (ON) will be assigned to each fleet. The Certificate is renewable every five years.
  • Each vessel in the fleet must be marked with the ON and a suffix, e.g., C123456ON-1, C123456ON-2.

To learn more about:

Assigned Formal Tonnage (AFT) NEW

When registering a monohull or multihull vessel of 12m in length or less, you may now establish the gross tonnage of your vessel by any one of these methods:

  • Assigned Formal Tonnage (AFT) based on the length of the vessel
  • Simplified Method of Calculation (Form 4A or Form 4B)
  • Measurement performed by a Tonnage Measurer regardless of length

To learn how to establish the gross tonnage of your vessel, refer to FAQ no. 10 at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/oep-vesselreg-smallcomm-menu-542.htm#10.

Future changes

You will find any future changes or updates on vessel registration at:

Contact Information

Vessel Registration Office through the North American toll free number: 1-877-242-8770.

Vessel Registration Office 
Marine Safety & Security 
Transport Canada 
Tower C, Place de Ville 
10th floor, 330 Sparks Street 
Ottawa, ON 
K1A 0N8

The following document is available for downloading or viewing:

Update on Interim Registration Guidance – Ship Safety Bulletin No. 01/2011 (115 KB

To access the Portable Document Format ( PDF ) version you must have a PDF reader installed. If you do not already have such a reader, there are numerous PDF readers available for free download or for purchase on the Internet:



  1. Human-powered vessels
  2. Small Vessel Register
  3. Canoes or kayaks

Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:

Yvette Myers
North American toll-free no. 1-877-242-8770
Transport Canada
Marine Safety & Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
10th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

Contact us at: marinesafety-securitemaritime@tc.gc.ca or 1-855-859-3123 (Toll Free).