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Competency of Operators of Pleasure Yachts Regulations

Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Department of Transport


The following was tabled in Parliament on June 4, 1998 and published in Vol 132, No.24 of the Canada Gazette Part I, in OTTAWA, on SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 1998

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

Description
The Canadian Coast Guard initiated an extensive direct stake-holder consultation program in 1995 on recreational boating safety. The consultations began in Ontario with a joint task force of the provincial and federal governments to explore options on how to improve boating safety. Public consultations were then extended to the rest of the country in 1996, on the basis of the options developed in the joint Ontario-Canada task force. Public meetings were held in 75 communities across Canada where the views and concerns of over 3 500 Canadians were heard. A National Consultation Report summarized the findings of the two year nation-wide public consultations. The National Consultation Report attempted to capture specific viewpoints while trying to identify general themes that gained broad support. Considerable effort was also made to consider specific views and concerns of certain key publics, such as the boat rental and tourism industry.

Four principal themes emerged from the consultations for improving pleasure boating safety:
  1. Improve the existing mandatory small vessel licensing system from an antiquated almost useless paper process to one
  2. using modern computer information management and delivery systems;
  3. Introduce new boating safety programs and operator proficiency requirements, including age restrictions and mandatory basic boating safety proficiency or training of pleasure craft operators;
  4. Increase waterways policing and enforcement of existing safety regulations; and
  5. Increase emergency boater assistance and use of volunteer organizations.

This Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement addresses two regulatory initiatives pertaining to proposals for immediate introduction of age and power restrictions on unaccompanied and unsupervised operators of motorized pleasure craft, as well as mandatory operator proficiency requirements to be phased in over a period of ten years.

There are approximately 2.55 million recreational or pleasure craft of all descriptions in Canada. Included in this number are all unpowered craft, such as small rowboats, canoes, kayaks, sail-boats and windsurfers. Recreational power boats, such as the common 12- to 16-foot aluminum boat with a motor, personal watercraft, waterski boats, cottage power boats, sailboats, and motor yachts are also included in this number. Every year, it is estimated that some 7 to 9 million Canadians participate in one form or another of boating activity.

According to Red Cross statistics, an average of nearly 200 boating-related fatalities occur every year in Canada and it is estimated that there are approximately 6 000 unreported non-fatal boating incidents every year that involve serious personal injuries, property loss or risk of same. There is, however, no national uniform reporting system for boating accidents and therefore, it is almost impossible to fully understand the scope of boating safety issues from these statistics alone.

Currently, there are no restrictions on the age or the proficiency of pleasure craft operators. A person of any age can operate any type of recreational boat of almost any size or horsepower in Canada, regardless of knowledge or experience. However, there is a regulatory framework for recreational boating safety that includes two principal Regulations:

  • The Boating Restrictions Regulations, which generally apply speed limits, restricted use and other safe navigation restrictions in specific geographic areas, such as lakes and rivers, and throughout Canada; and
  • The Small Vessel Regulations, which establish basic boating safety equipment requirements as well as safe operation requirements for all pleasure craft and for some small commercial ships under 15 tons gross tonnage.

Both Regulations draw part of their legal authority from section 562 of the Canada Shipping Act which authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations to deal with such matters as rules and regulations for the safety of life or limb on navigable waters, the licensing of operators of vessels, and the restrictions that may be placed on navigation in the waters of Canada in the interests of public safety, in the public interest or for the protection or convenience of the public. This analysis examines two regulatory initiatives; the first consists of regulatory amendments to add age and power restrictions for operators of pleasure craft in the Boating Restrictions Regulations and the second creates an entirely new regulation to contain the proficiency requirements that operators of pleasure craft must meet. Both will specifically draw their authority from the same section 562 of the Canada Shipping Act.

Alternatives Solutions
Five alternatives regarding operator proficiency were discussed in the public meetings and formed the basis for subsequent deliberations leading to the two regulatory initiatives proposed:
  1. Existing System;
  2. Enhanced Existing System with Coast Guard Accrediting of Courses;
  3. Mandatory Education and Training for Power Vessel Operators;
  4. Mandatory Education and Training for All Vessel Operators; and
  5. Operator Licensing.

The Existing System represents taking no new actions beyond the existing programs for coordination of boating information, dissemination of that information and voluntary boater education through the existing private sector boating courses. While there is no incremental cost to this option, it does not respond adequately to the conclusions from the consultations for improving boating safety. It would not provide an increase in benefits to boaters, other users of the waterways, or taxpayers in terms of reduction in lives lost, personal injury, or property damage. There was limited support for the existing system in the public consultations and therefore this alternative was eliminated.

The Enhanced Existing System with Coast Guard Accredited Courses alternative would represent improving the coordination and promotion of boating safety education and the "prevention" programs (e.g. courtesy inspections) that seek to minimize common emergencies resulting in the need for search or rescue. Minimum boat operator safety training standards would be established. Training courses accredited against the standard would continue to be provided on a voluntary basis by the private sector. Although this alternative received considerable support in the consultations, it offers little prospect for significant improvement of recreational boating safety. A voluntary education approach would merely guarantee continuation of the existing situation whereby 80 percent of boaters choose not to take currently avail-able boating safety training. Given the anticipated ineffectiveness represented by this approach, the Enhanced Existing System with Coast Guard Accredited Courses alternative was eliminated.

The Mandatory Education and Training for Power Vessel Operators alternative would require, through regulations, that all persons who operate a power-driven pleasure craft possess proof of proficiency. Operators could obtain proof of proficiency in the form of an operator card upon completion of an accredited course or a test in lieu. They would be required to have this card in their possession at all times when operating a power vessel. The training courses would be examined against a national standard but be delivered by private sector training organizations. Participants of the consultations felt that this alternative would focus on con-cerns regarding training of power vessel operators and Personal Watercraft operators. As well, many people supported introduction of age limits for power boat operators similar to those for automobile drivers. Supporters also noted that this alternative would be less intrusive than the operator licensing alternative below. Accordingly, the Mandatory Education and Training for Power Vessel Operators alternative was retained for further consideration.

The Mandatory Education and Training for All Vessel Operators alternative would consist of requiring by regulation that all persons who operate any recreational vessel, whether power-driven or not, must possess proof of proficiency. Operators could obtain proof of proficiency in the form of an operator card upon completion of an accredited course or a test in lieu. They would be required to have this card in their possession at all times when operating a pleasure craft whether power-driven or not. The training courses would be examined against a national standard but be delivered by private sector training organizations. Comments similar to those for the last alternative above were made with respect to the desirability of age and power limits for operators. However, there was particular concern that children not be prevented from learning about boating safety through use of unpowered recreational craft such as canoes, rowboats and sail-boats. This alternative as a whole received considerable support as it was considered to offer the potential for the greatest improvement of recreational boating safety while not being too intrusive. Participants felt that all vessel operators need greater knowledge of their responsibilities with respect to boating safety. Some concern was expressed about the logistics of providing accredited training programs given the large numbers of boats and potential operators. Many participants suggested various ways to address implementation issues such as: using existing courses and training programs, phasing-in of implementation, "grandfathering" exemptions for older boaters, and a "test-in-lieu" option so that a person could simply take a competency test instead of having to go through a full fledged boating safety course. It was considered most logical to start by requiring proof of proficiency for power boat operators only, and later examine the results and impacts to determine if this should be extended to operators of non-motorized pleasure craft. Accordingly, the Mandatory Education and Training for All Vessel Operators alternative was eliminated.

The Operator Licensing alternative would consist of a system similar to provincial motor vehicle operator licensing regimes. Operators of recreational boats would be required to complete a knowledge test as well as possibly a practical skills operation test prior to receiving a boat operator's license. A basic boating safety course standard and operator practical skills test could be developed in conjunction with the boating community and existing training organizations. There was support for operator licensing because it offered the greatest potential to improve overall recreational boating safety. However, this approach was considered the most intrusive, and it would require the establishment of significant administrative systems with very expensive implementation costs. The complexity and costs of establishing such a national system in cooperation with the ten provinces and two territories, represented a challenge far in excess of that anticipated for the alternative involving mandatory training for power vessel operators. Since the benefits are anticipated to be quite similar in terms of reduction of fatalities, injuries, and property damage, in comparison with those of the Mandatory Training for Power Vessel Operators alternative, the Operator Licensing alternative was eliminated from contention.

Benefits and Costs
A benefit-cost analysis of proposed operator proficiency requirements was completed by Consulting and Audit Canada in May 1998. The three objectives of the analysis were
  • to estimate the cost to boaters of the proposed operator proficiency requirements;
  • to estimate the impact of this cost on recreational boating activity levels; and
  • to estimate the benefits of improved operator proficiency.

The cost to boaters was estimated on the basis of a 10-year implementation of requirements for a boating safety test or course ranging in cost from $10 to $30. It was estimated that the requirements would affect an average of two operators for each of the approximately 1.18 million power boats in Canada (46.1 per-cent of all household-owned recreational vessels). The present value of the costs was therefore estimated at between $15.3 and $46.0 million.

In order to determine the impact of this cost on recreational boating activity, it was assumed that the individual cost of a course or examination would be viewed by boaters as an increase in their annual boating cost in the year when the course or examination is taken. On this basis, this anticipated cost would likely decrease boating activity levels. The price elasticity of demand for recreational boating was used to forecast a decline of between 0.19 percent and 0.66 percent in household recreational boating activity over the 10-year implementation period assuming a cost of $10 to $30 per operator. This decline in boating activity would be expected to result in an equivalent percentage decrease in sales and revenue in the boat rental and marina industry, amounting to between $378,000 and $1.3 million per year.

The benefits of improved recreational boat operator proficiency are expected to be reductions in the number of boating accidents and related fatalities, injuries and property damage. Due to the lack of data on injuries and property damage, only the benefits associated with a reduction in fatalities were estimated. Only data for boating related fatalities for 1995 was used as the year-to-year variation appears to be relatively small. It was assumed that, of all the potential causes of death, only deaths resulting from collisions, swamping and capsizing would be prevented by improved operator proficiency. Also, as persons 55 years old and over are to be exempted from meeting operator proficiency requirements, deaths in this age category were eliminated from consideration. The number of preventable deaths was further adjusted by taking into account that accident statistics generally indicate that uneducated boaters experience five times as many fatalities as educated boaters. At a value of $1.5 million (1991 dollars) per prevented fatality, the present value of prevented fatalities over the 10-year implementation period is $204.2 million. In addition, at the end of the implementation period, there will be an ongoing annual benefit of $76.5 million.

A comparison of the present value of the benefits and costs examined in the analysis by Consulting and Audit Canada leads to the conclusion that benefits represent 4.4 times costs. It should also be noted that the benefits were narrowly defined and did not include reductions in non-fatal injuries and property damage. Finally it is noted that the forecast percentage decrease in house-hold power boating activity and the related revenues in the boat rental and marina industry is very low if not negligible.

Compliance and Enforcement With the choice of a regulatory alternative involving mandatory education and training for power vessel operators, there is little choice with respect to the compliance assurance and enforcement means. The existing framework of boating safety regulation depends on enforcement by peace officers, the majority of whom are police officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial police forces such as the Ontario Provincial Police and the Sûreté du Québec, or municipal police forces. Enforcement will therefore continue to be by way of summary conviction and ticketing through charges laid by these peace officers under the Boating Restrictions Regulations and the Contraventions Regulations.

Contact Michel Berthiaume, AWEF, Small Vessel Partnerships Project, Rescue, Safety and Environmental Response, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 344 Slater Street, 9th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N7, (613) 991-5725 (Telephone), (613) 991-3444 (Facsimile).



PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is hereby given that the Governor in Council proposes, pursuant to section 562 of the Canada Shipping Act, to make the annexed Competency of Operators of Pleasure Yachts Regulations.

Any interested person may make representations concerning the proposed amendments within 75 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must be addressed to Michel Berthiaume, Small Vessel Partnerships Project, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 344 Slater Street, 9th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N7, and cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of this notice; June 4, 1998

MICHEL GARNEAU Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council



COMPETENCY OF OPERATORS OF PLEASURE YACHTS REGULATIONS

1. The definitions in this section apply in these Regulations.
"CCG-accredited course" means a series of lessons in respect of boating safety that has been accredited by the Canadian Coast Guard in accordance with section 7. (cours agréé GCC)
"CCG-accredited test" means an examination that has been ac-credited by the Canadian Coast Guard in accordance with section 8. (examen agréé GCC)
"operate" means, in relation to a pleasure yacht, the action of controlling its speed or course. (conduire)
"power-driven" means propelled by machinery. (propulsion mécanique)
"proof of age" means a birth certificate, baptism certificate, driver's licence or other official government document that sets out the person's date of birth. (preuve díâge)
"proof of competency" means an operator card, a rental boat safety checklist or other form of proof that is referred to in section 4. (preuve de compétence)
"proof of residency" means a passport, driver's licence or other official government document that sets out a person's place of residence. (preuve de résidence)

APPLICATION

2. These Regulations apply in respect of all power-driven pleasure yachts that are operated in the waters of Canada.

PROHIBITIONS

3. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and section 5, no person shall operate a pleasure yacht unless the person
(a) is competent to operate the pleasure yacht in accordance with section 4; and
(b) has proof of competency on board the pleasure yacht that the person is operating.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who
(a) is 55 years of age or older on the coming into force of these Regulations; or
(b) is not a resident of Canada and whose pleasure yacht is in Canada for less than 45 consecutive days.

(3) A person referred to in paragraph (2)(b) shall not operate the pleasure yacht unless the person has on board proof of residency.

COMPETENCY

4. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person is competent to oper-ate a pleasure yacht if
(a) the person has passed a CCG-accredited test with a mark of at least 75 per cent and has received an operator card from the test administrator indicating that the person has passed the test;
(b) where the person is renting the pleasure yacht, the person and the rentor of the pleasure yacht complete and sign a rental boat safety checklist that contains the information referred to in section 9 before operating the pleasure yacht; or
(c) before the coming into force of these Regulations, the per-son had successfully completed a boating safety course, and has written proof of that completion.

(2) A person who is not a resident of Canada is competent to operate a pleasure yacht if the person has been issued a certificate or other similar document by the person's state or country of residence that attests to the person's having acquired the boating safety knowledge required by the state or country.

TRANSITIONAL DISPOSITIONS

5. Subsection 3(1) and section 4 apply
(a) beginning on April 1, 1999, with respect to a person who was born after April 1, 1983 who operates any pleasure yacht;
(b) beginning on April 1, 2002 with respect to a person who was born before April 2, 1983 who operates a pleasure yacht less than four metres in length; and
(c) beginning on April 1, 2009 with respect to a person who was born before April 2, 1983 who operates any pleasure yacht.

PROOF OF AGE

6. Every person who is operating a pleasure yacht shall have on board proof of age.

CCG-ACCREDITED COURSES

7. (1) A person shall apply for the accreditation of a course by making a written request and submitting a copy of the course to the Canadian Coast Guard.

(2) The Canadian Coast Guard shall accredit as a CCG-accredited course a course that
(a) defines boating terms and expressions;
(b) describes the responsibilities of the operators of pleasure yachts, including the requirement to have the appropriate equipment and charts, maps and other documents on board the pleasure yacht;
(c) sets out safety procedures to be followed by operators and occupants of pleasure yachts, including appropriate responses to different boating situations and emergencies;
(d) sets out general boating safety knowledge; and
(e) reviews these Regulations and the following statutes and regulations relating to the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c), as applicable, namely,
(i) the Canada Shipping Act,
(ii) the Contraventions Act and regulations made under it, as they pertain to contraventions of the Canada Shipping Act and regulations made under it,
(iii) the Criminal Code,
(iv) the Boating Restriction Regulations,
(v) the Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, 1995,
(vi) the Collision Regulations, and
(vii) the Small Vessels Regulations.

CCG-ACCREDITED TEST

8. (1) A person shall apply for the accreditation of a test by making a written request and submitting a copy of the test to the Canadian Coast Guard.

(2) The Canadian Coast Guard shall accredit as a CCG-accredited test a test that:
(a) uses multiple choice questions, associated items or short answer questions; and
(b) includes at least
(i) 9 items or questions related to the matters referred to in paragraphs 7(2)(a) and (e),
(ii) 9 items or questions related to the matters referred to in paragraphs 7(2)(b) and (e),
(iii) 12 items or questions related to the matters referred to in paragraphs 7(2)(c) and (e), and
(iv) 9 items or questions related to the matters referred to in paragraph 7(2)(d).

RENTAL BOAT SAFETY CHECKLIST

9. A rentor of a pleasure yacht must include in a rental boat safety checklist statements that indicate that the rentor has given to the persons who will operate the pleasure yacht information pertaining to
(a) the operation of the pleasure yacht;
(b) the principal boating safety rules; and
(c) the geographic features and hazards in the area in which the pleasure yacht will be operated.

COMING INTO FORCE

10. These Regulations come into force on the date on which they are registered.

Regulations Amending the Boating Restriction Regulations

Statutory Authority
Canada Shipping Act
Sponsoring Departments
Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Department of Transport

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

For the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, see page 1341 (top of this page).

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is hereby given that the Governor in Council proposes, pursuant to section 562 of the Canada Shipping Act, to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Boating Restriction Regulations.

Any interested person may make representations concerning the proposed amendments within 75 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must be addressed to Michel Berthiaume, Small Vessel Partnerships Project, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 344 Slater Street, 9th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N7, and cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of this notice. June 4, 1998

MICHEL GARNEAU Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council



REGULATIONS AMENDING THE BOATING RESTRICTION REGULATIONS

AMENDMENTS
1. Section 2 of the Boating Restriction Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order: "personal watercraft" means an enclosed-hull, water-jet-driven pleasure yacht with a maximum length of 4 m with no cockpit, that is designed to be used by a maximum of three people while straddling, sitting, standing or kneeling. (motomarine)

2. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 2:

Age Prohibitions Interdictions
2.1 Sections 2.2 to 2.5 apply notwithstanding any other provision in these Regulations.

2.2 Subject to section 2.5, no owner, master, operator, charterer, hirer or person in charge of a pleasure yacht that is pro-pelled by a motor that has an engine power greater than 7.5 kW shall allow a person who is under 12 years of age to operate, in the waters of Canada, the pleasure yacht.

2.3 Subject to section 2.5, no person who is 12 years of age or older but under 16 years of age shall operate, in the waters of Canada, a pleasure yacht that is propelled by a motor that has an engine power greater than 30 kW.

2.4 (1) No owner, master, operator, charterer, hirer or person in charge of a personal watercraft shall allow a person who is under 12 years of age to operate the personal watercraft in the waters of Canada.
(2) No person who is 12 years of age or older but under 16 years of age shall operate a personal watercraft in the waters of Canada.

2.5 (1) An owner, master, operator, charterer, hirer or person in charge of a pleasure yacht that is propelled by a motor may allow a person who is under 12 years of age to operate the pleasure yacht in the waters of Canada, if the person is accompanied and directly supervised by another person who is 16 years of age or older.
(2) A person who is 12 years of age or older, but under 16 years of age, may operate a pleasure yacht that is propelled by a motor if the person is accompanied and directly supervised by a person who is 16 years of age or older.



COMING INTO FORCE

3. These Regulations come into force on the date on which they are registered.



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