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Transport Canada Update

The Canadian Marine Advisory Committee spring meetings took place last week in Ottawa.  Jamie Gordon, Mike Vollmer and Paddy Boyd attended on behalf of Sail Canada and are pleased to report as below (with thanks to Jamie for the report).


Transport Canada Update

Recreational Boating Standard - TP15136  A number of schools have applied for and have received their letter of participation in the Small Vessel Compliance Program from Transport Canada. Some schools have experienced delays in receiving responses from Transport Canada regional offices and in some cases have been unable to connect with local staff knowledgeable about the standard.  Sail Canada is working with the Provincial Sailing Associations, Schools and Transport Canada staff in Ottawa to address this issue. Please contact Sail Canada either through the Cruising Panel or Jamie Gordon if you need assistance in this area.


Sail Canada is continuing to work with Transport Canada to identify and address issues of concern with the recreational boating standard.  Issues under discussion include:

  • Vessel size and voyage restrictions:   This applies to vessels over 15m in length and those that are proceeding beyond normal voyage areas (Offshore and Ocean voyages). These restrictions are impacting a few schools and Transport Canada staff have indicated they are willing to work with these schools to prepare an application to the Marine Transportation Review Board for specific approval for each of their situations.
  • PFDs:  Discussions to c larify the type of PFD that may be worn by students to meet the standard are ongoing with the expectation that this issue will be resolved in the near future.
Coach Boats  
Coach boats used in support of coaching and training are non-pleasure craft under the Canada Shipping Act 2001 when the coach operating the vessel is paid for their services.  These coach boats become passenger carrying vessels when paying students are carried in situations that are not emergencies.  Sail Canada, along with a number of other water based sport organizations, are working with Transport Canada to address this issue.  There are 3 areas of concern - construction, safety equipment and personnel training:
    • Construction: Pleasure vessels less than 6 metres meet construction requirements for non-pleasure craft. These vessels should be registered, however registration is optional for vessels powered by outboards less than 10 h.p.  Groups of vessels may be registered for a flat $50 dollar fee and the registration is valid for 5 years. 
    • Safety Equipment: Based on review of the Small Vessel Regulations safety equipment in addition to that carried by pleasure craft should be carried by coach boats. Specifics are:  flares (3 - no smoke), a first aid kit, and a portable fire extinguisher. We are asking Transport Canada to confirm this interpretation.
    • Personnel:  The Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) allows coach boat operation and provides the operator the right to carry up to 6 passengers in sheltered waters or in waters where you can never be more than 2.5 miles from shore.  Sheltered waters are explicitly defined in the Vessel Certificates Regulations. Not all areas where Sail Canada coaches work fall into the defined sheltered waters areas. Sail Canada is working with Transport Canada and other sport governing bodies to find an appropriate solution to this issue

To register a non-pleasure craft:

Application form (form 20)


Simplified Method of Tonnage Measurement (form 4A)


Appointment of Authorized Representative (form 14)


Payment Form


Declaration Form (if not able to supply documents of ownership)


Statement of Qualification for Vessel Registration (Form 3)



Equipment aboard vessels for Sailing Schools:

Although it is the responsibility of the clubs, schools and instructors to equip their vessels for the legal requirements, the following has been prepared as a guide only!


In addition to the small vessel regulation requirements for your vessel, the additional items must be added for teaching:

  • 3 non-smoke flares, WSIB first aid kit, portable fire extinguisher (ABC)

  • Nautical Chart of area operating the vessel in (large scale if possible)

  • Anchor and rode AND paddles

  • Additional bailing devices (as these get handed out very often to capsized sailboats)

  • Kill cord is worn by operator

  • Vessel registration information


Ontario Sailing strongly recommends the following:

  • Mandatory wearing of PFDs by all coaches and students. Coaches attach a whistle to their PFD, if a pocket is built into the jacket, they put their PCOC card, rigging knife, waterproof flashlight inside

  • Vessel carries wire cutters (click here for Sail Canada Sailor Entrapment Protocol)

  • Pre-departure vessel check is carried out each day

  • Near miss reports filed with club

  • Coach carries water for himself/herself aboard

  • Coach wears a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen

  • No texting while underway

  • VHF radio aboard

  • A sail plan is filed when coaching alone

  • List of vessel and students aboard be carried by coach

  • Vessel is operated in a safe, prudent manner and all directions of a Peace Officer be followed

  • Buoyant heaving line close at hand, buoyant tow lines present

  • Vessel's bilges are uncluttered and clean

  • Safety gear carried in a plastic bin or waterproof bag that gets vented in storage at end of the day (to keep items from getting wet from condensation)

  • As part of the Club COAST program in our Shells and Sails project, Club considers a Standard Operation Policy (SOP) for coach boats

  • Club has an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) developed - all sailing instructors and coaches are trained to produce one

  • Tools and repair items based on the sailboats being used

  • Coach/instructors do not operate the vessel if under the influence of alcohol or drugs and/or if they are overtired.


Clubs feel free to add to this list!



Glenn Lethbridge
Executive Director, Ontario Sailing 


New Address: 70 Unsworth Drive, Unit 17 Hamilton, ON L8W3K4
905-572-7245 or 1-888-672-7245 ext. 224
Fax 905-572-6056 or 1-877-677-7275