Quiet Vessel Initiative

Underwater noise from vessels can negatively impact the marine environment and vulnerable marine mammals - including Southern Resident killer whales. Noise from vessels makes it harder for them to:

  • navigate
  • communicate, and
  • find food

Quiet vessel designs and technologies are newer considerations for many commercial shipbuilders and operators. They haven’t been well-researched, so there are a lot of factors that designers don’t know about the most effective noise-reducing technologies and vessel designs. This applies to many vessel classes, including tankers, tugs, and fishing vessels. The Initiative is looking at ways to help researchers and designers improve their knowledge so that they can reduce vessel noise.

The $26 million, 5-year Quiet Vessel Initiative is testing the most promising technologies, vessel designs, retrofits and operational practices to make vessels quieter.

The Quiet Vessel Initiative is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to address underwater vessel noise, and protect the marine environment. You can find information on how the Initiative is responding to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project as an accommodation measure by visiting Natural Resources Canada’s website.

Our goals

  • Support the use of safe, environmentally responsible, and effective low-noise technologies and operational practices through research and testing
  • Create opportunities to engage Indigenous groups about quiet vessel solutions and include traditional knowledge and participation in the project
  • Fund the development of technologies to improve marine mammal detection and reduce the risks of vessel strikes

We’re committed to managing the impacts of underwater noise and protecting Canada’s marine environment.

How it works

As part of the Initiative, Transport Canada funds research, development and demonstration of low-noise and low-emission vessel technologies by issuing regular calls for proposals.

The first call closed on January 20, 2020. The second call for proposals is planned for 2020-21.

We’re also engaging with Indigenous communities to ask them to participate in three areas:

Program workshops

These events will include Indigenous communities, industry, academia, and non-government organizations. At these workshops we’ll look for input from participants about the feasibility of operational practices, design standards and technologies.

Research or testing “quiet vessel” technologies and operational practices

Opportunities to participate could include sea trials, especially when there are benefits for a community, like supporting quiet fishing vessel technology trials.

Monitoring of the marine environment for underwater noise in traditional territories

This work will be done to assess how effective operational and technical mitigation is; and could include sharing acoustic data from Transport Canada’s hydrophones, or funding the use of hydrophones.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Quiet Vessel Initiative, email us at: Marine-RDD-Maritime@tc.gc.ca.