Small Vessels


Welcome owners, operators and members of the public - find out about the role you play in small vessel safety. Transport Canada wants everyone to be safe on the water!

Wondering where to begin?
Why safety?

Boat tours are a great way to explore Canadian waterways. Whether you’re an owner, operator or passenger we have important safety information for you.

The safety requirements that apply to your vessel depend on how it is used. If your vessel is used solely for pleasure purposes, the requirements for Pleasure Craft apply. For all other vessels, select from one of the categories below.

Small Commercial (non-pleasure craft) Vessels

This category covers all vessels used for non-pleasure purposes, other than commercial fishing vessels (see Small Fishing Vessels below). As many of these vessels are used for commercial purposes they are commonly referred to as small “commercial” vessels by the marine industry. Although not operated for profit, vessels operated by government agencies and other volunteer organizations fall under the “commercial" umbrella as they are not operated solely for pleasure.

For vessels other than passenger vessels, the gross tonnage of the vessel determines the requirements that apply. For example, a passenger vessel less than 150 gross tons carrying more than 12 and not more than 25 berthed or 100 unberthed passengers, the requirements for vessels of 15-150 gross tons will apply.

Determine the gross tonnage of your vessel
Need clarity on what defines a passenger?

Small Fishing Vessels

All vessels not more than 150 gross tons, generally equivalent to 24 metres in length, that are used for catching fish, whales, seals, walrus or other living resources of the sea for sale to another party.

Special Purpose/Non-conventional Vessels

  • River Rafting
  • Air Cushion Vehicles (hovercraft)
  • Amphibious Vehicles
  • Sail Training Vessels -->