Amendments to the Small Vessel Regulations

Effective May 16. 2018, the following amendments have been made to the Small Vessel Regulations: SOR/2018-102 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

Regarding Pleasure Craft Licenses:

  • A Pleasure Craft License is valid for a period of ten (10) years beginning on the day on which it is issued, transferred or renewed.

To clarify, this is not your Pleasure Craft Operator Card required to drive your vessel. Every pleasure craft powered by one or more motors, adding up to 10 hp or more, must be licensed, and its unique licence number must be displayed on the bow of the boat. This unique identifier, and associated contact information, are maintained in TC’s Pleasure Craft Licensing System, providing search and rescue personnel with access to important information in an emergency situation. In 2016, the Pleasure Craft Licensing System was accessed by first responders on 26 occasions. When the Regulations came into force in April 2010, they prescribed that all pleasure craft licences expired 10 years after they were issued, transferred, renewed or updated, as a way to ensure that contact information was as up-to-date and accurate as possible. However, extending the expiry date by 10 years when a licence is updated inadvertently allowed obsolete information to be retained in the Pleasure Craft Licensing System well beyond 10 years (e.g. the licence may have been updated to reflect a change in vessel colour, extending the licence expiry date by 10 years, during which the owner’s telephone number may have changed, and not been reflected in the licence).

 Regarding Safety Equipment Carriage, Lifesaving Appliances:

  • Paddleboats, Watercycles, Stand-Up Paddleboards and Sealed-Hull, Sit-On-Top Kayaks. If every person on board a paddleboat, a watercycle, a stand-up paddle board or a sealed-hull, sit-on-top kayak is wearing a personal flotation device(PFD) or lifejacket of an appropriate size, the paddleboat, watercycle, stand-up paddleboard or sealed-hull, sit-on-top kayak is required to carry on board only the following safety equipment:
    a) a sound signalling device: and
    b) a watertight flashlight, if the paddleboat, watercycle, stand-up paddleboard or sealed-hull, sit-on-top kayak is operated after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.
  • If the human powered pleasure craft is more than six (6) meters in length, a watertight flashlight and six(6)
    pyrotechnic distress signals, not more than two (2) of which are smoke signals are required.

Visual Signals:

  • For Sail and Power boats up to six (6) meters in length, if the boat is equipped with a motor: a watertight flashlight OR three (3) pyrotechnic distress signals, not more than one (1) of which is a smoke signal.
  • For a pleasure craft more than six (6) meters in length and up to twelve (12) meters in length, the number of pyrotechnic distress signals referred to below may be reduced up to a maximum of 50%, provided the number of smoke signals does not exceed 50% of the permitted number of smoke signals, if the pleasure craft is equipped with:
    a) A means of two way radio communication which can include a cell phone. If a VHF marine band radio then the operator requires a Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) (ROC(M); OR
    b) A 406 MHz personal locator beacon, that is the subject to the technical acceptance certificate, worn by the pleasure craft operator; OR
    c) A 406 MHz emergency position-indicating beacon.
  • For Sail and Power boats over six (6) meters in length and up to nine (9) in length: three (3) pyrotechnic distress signals, not more than one (1) of which is a smoke signal.
  • For Sail and Power boats over nine (9) meters in length and up to twelve (12) meters in length: six (6) pyrotechnic distress signals not more than two (2) of which are smoke signals.


For a complete review, please use the following links as reference:

If you have any questions or would like to ensure you have all the safety equipment for your sized boat, give us a call or an email to schedule a free recreational courtesy check!

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