Templates for small fishing vessel procedures

From Transport Canada

If you own and operate small fishing vessels, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations require you to keep written safety procedures. To help you do this, Transport Canada has created operational and safety procedure templates you can download on this page and adapt for your use.

On this page …

Requirements for procedures

For small fishing vessels (those that are no longer than 24.4 m and no more than 150 gross tonnage), you are legally responsible to create and maintain written safety procedures if you are the vessel’s authorized representative (AR).

The authorized representative (AR) is the vessel owner, unless the vessel is owned by more than one person. In this case, appoint one owner to be the AR.

The AR must meet the following requirements for keeping procedures:

  • Section 106(1) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 requires you to provide procedures for how to:
    • safely operate the vessel
    • deal with emergencies
  • Part 2, section 206 (1) of the Marine Personnel Regulations requires you to provide the master written instructions that, at a minimum, set out the procedures – and, if applicable, the policies – that will ensure each member of the complement, before being assigned any duty:
    1. becomes familiar with:
      1. shipboard equipment specific to the vessel
      2. operational instructions specific to the vessel
      3. their assigned duties
    2. can effectively perform duties when they are vital to safety or the prevention or mitigation of pollution

Note: The terms “procedures” and “policies” (above) apply as defined in section A-I/14 of the Code for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Code).

  • Divisions 1 and 3.16 (1) of the new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations require you to establish and use written safety procedures (in English, French, or both, according to the needs of the crew) that familiarize persons on board a fishing vessel with the following:
    1. the location of all safety equipment, and how to use it
    2. all measures they must take to protect persons on board, including to:
      • prevent persons from falling overboard
      • retrieve persons who have fallen overboard
      • protect limbs from rotating equipment
      • avoid ropes, docking lines, nets, and other fishing equipment that may pose a safety hazard
    3. in the case of beam trawling and purse seining operations, how to quickly release loads that can be activated in an emergency
    4. all measures they must take to prevent fires and explosions on the vessel
    5. if the vessel has a deck or deck structure, all measures they must take to maintain watertightness and weathertightness, and prevent interior spaces of the hull from flooding; or, if the vessel has no deck or deck structure, measures they must take to prevent the vessel from swamping
    6. all measures they must take to ensure safe loading, stowage, and unloading of fish catches, baits, and consumables
    7. how to operate towing and lifting equipment, and measures they must take to prevent overloading the vessel

The new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations will come into force in July 2017. For more information about the new regulations, visit Small fishing vessel safety.

Using templates for written procedures

You do not have to submit your safe operating procedures to Transport Canada for approval. However, during an inspection, you must be able to show that you have met the requirements for developing and using them.

To help you do so, we have created templates for common operating and emergency procedures. They include useful checklists and forms for managing operations and recording crew training or emergency drills. The templates are available for downloading below.

You should:

  • Adapt these templates for your needs.
  • Store them (and other vessel operation documents) in a binder that you keep in a safe place.
  • Refer to them often and keep them current.
Template type How to use this template
Pre-departure Run through this short list every time you get ready to set sail and be sure everything is in order before you leave.
Refueling Prevent pollution and avoid explosion.
Person overboard Work together to retrieve anyone who falls overboard quickly and safely.
Fire fighting Contain and extinguish fires without exposing crew or passengers to unnecessary risk.
Taking on water Respond rapidly and effectively to reduce the amount of water entering a vessel.
Pollution response Minimize the amount and spread of pollutant(s).
Abandon ship Practice assembling passengers and crew, wearing personal protective equipment, and launching safety equipment.
Personnel record Use this collection of personal information for each staff member in case of a medical or other emergency as a record of their initial training.

Note: A signed summary of the items you review in training is preferable to using this form.
Crew certification Use this handy reference to track crew members’ competency, marine emergency duties, and first aid training certificates. Easily identify crew members who have certificates that need to be renewed.
Number of persons onboard Record and report the number of people on board each voyage. Leave this record with a responsible person ashore who Search and Rescue can contact to find out how many people need to be recovered in an emergency.
Emergency drills Record the date of a drill, its type, and who took part to show compliance with the Small Vessel Regulations (sections 419, 519, 417) and the Marine Personnel Regulations.
Maintenance schedule Modify this schedule to include manufacturers’ recommended service intervals. The combined calendar and recommended service interval driven items allow you to plan maintenance so it gets done when it should, with less downtime.

Other responsibilities

For reference, here is a list of the other responsibilities the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and its regulations assign to the vessel’s authorized representative (AR), master, and crew members.

Required by the Canada Shipping Act, 2001

Responsibilities of the AR:

  • Section 14: anything related to the vessel that the Act does not assign to someone else; ensuring the vessel and its operation comply with all aspects of the Act
  • Section 106: ensuring the vessel, its machinery, and its equipment meet regulatory requirements and the crew and passengers receive safety training
  • Sections 85 and 109:
    • taking all reasonable means to make sure the vessel is seaworthy before and during each voyage
    • protecting the vessel and the people on board from hazards
    • operating within legal limits (this is also a responsibility of the master)

Responsibilities of the master:

  • Section 82.(1): ensuring everyone employed on the vessel has the proper certification
  • Section 82.(2): ensuring the crew is sufficient and competent for safe operation
  • Sections 130–133: helping people in distress
  • Section 148: if involved in a collision, helping and providing information to the other vessel

Responsibilities of the crew members:

  • Sections 82.(3) and 113:
    • carrying out their duties in a safe manner
    • informing the master if they become aware of any hazard or anything else that might affect safe operations
    • following the master’s lawful orders except where the master is putting the vessel or people on board at risk

Responsibility of everyone on board:

  • Section 187: making sure pollutants do not enter the water

Required by the Marine Personnel Regulations

Responsibility of the master:

  • Part 2, section 206.(2) – Using the procedures and/or policies provided by the AR, ensuring that:
    1. each member of the vessel’s crew is:
      • trained at the beginning of their employment
      • able to perform their duties when those duties are vital to safety or the prevention or mitigation of pollution
      • kept up-to-date on required knowledge and training
    2. a record of training that includes the following information is maintained and kept readily available for inspection by a marine safety inspector, on board the vessel – or, if the vessel does not travel more than five nautical miles from its home port, in its home port:
      1. name of each member of the complement who has been trained
      2. equipment on which they were trained
      3. subject-matter on which they were trained
      4. days on which they were trained

This list is not exhaustive: you many have other responsibilities, such as those for health and safety in the workplace. Depending on your operation, federal or provincial requirements may apply. Your provincial worker's compensation board may be able to help you determine how best to meet the regulations.

Important reminder to small fishing vessels ARs: You must register your vessel with Transport Canada. Learn how at the Canadian Register of Vessels.

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