Who should read this guide?

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This guide is for owners and operators of small commercial vessels because you are responsible, by law, for knowing, controlling and defending against the risks related to your vessel and its use. The purpose of this guide is to inform you of these responsibilities, and to let you know the safety requirements that apply to your operation and how to comply with them to avoid accidents.

The information in this guide relates to:

  • passenger-carrying commercial vessels that are not more than 15 gross tonnage and that carry no more than 12 passengers; and
  • workboats (commercial vessels that do not carry passengers) that are not more than 15 gross tonnage.

For more information on which vessels are covered in this guide and how to determine which requirements apply to your operation, refer to Table 1-1, Vessel Categories, Purposes And Applicable Small Vessel Regulations.

Note: While the information in this guide is intended mainly for owners and operators, anyone who works on or with small commercial vessels may find it useful. The general safety information can also be helpful for owners of vessels of more than 15 gross tonnage or carrying more than 12 passengers, as well as small fishing vessel owners, even though the regulatory requirements for such vessels may be different.

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