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A number of governmental bodies, NGOs, and private entities are in the business of creating and disseminating quality and safety standards that apply to the construction and operation of pleasure craft and commercial ships. In Canada, the Canada Shipping Act 2001) and the many standards within the act detail the requirements for vessels. New pleasure craft sold in Canada are required to meet the Canada Shipping Act requirements.

Commercial vessels certified in Canada are also required to meet the standards contained within the act. Typically they may meet this obligation by meeting the standards of class societies such as the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) or Lloyd's Register. In such cases compliance with class society standards is subject to verification by Transport Canada Marine Safety.


Class society standards may also be applied where no guidance is offered within the Canada Shipping Act. In such cases an owner/operator can look to the class society standards for an applicable standard. Indeed, the Canada Shipping Act often references published standards from an established class society or other standards publishing entity rather than create and publish a duplicate standard within the act.


For small pleasure craft the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards are most often referenced. However, there are Canada Shipping Act standards that also apply, even in the case of used boats. 

So, when a vessel is surveyed it should logically be inspected to the standard that applied to the vessel’s original construction, and if the vessel is certified it should be surveyed to that standard as well.

Below are the standards I typically reference and the class of vessel to which they apply.

Non-Certified Pleasure Craft

  1. CSA TP 1332E (2010) Construction Standards for Small Vessels


  2. ABYC Standards and Technical Information Reports for Small Craft


  3. Small Vessel Regulations (SOR/20-21) (not more than 15 tonnes, not more than 12 passengers)


  4. National Fire Protection Association Standards (NFPA)

Small Commercial Passenger Vessel (over 12 passengers and 15 tonnes)

  1. TP 11717 (1994) Standards for Construction and Inspection of Small Passenger Vessels


  2. TP 1332 E (2010) Construction Standards for Small Vessels


  3. TP 127 Ships Electrical Standards


  4. Hull Construction Regulations (C.R.C.,c.1431)


  5. Life Saving Equipment Regulations (C.R.C.,c.1436)


  6. Vessel Fire Safety Regulations (SOR/2017-14)


  7. Marine Machinery Regulations (SOR/90-264)

Fishing Vessels

  1. Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations (C.R.C., c. 1486)


  2. Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations (C.R.C., c. 1435) (over 24.4m or 150 tonnes)


  3. TP 127 Ships Electrical Standards