On July 1, 2007, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) replaced the old Canada Shipping Act (CSA) as the principal legislation that governs safety in marine transportation, recreational boating and the protection of the marine environment. It applies to Canadian vessels operating in all waters and to all vessels operating in Canadian waters (all vessels from canoes and kayaks to cruise ships and tankers).
The CSA 2001 is the result of extensive consultations with a wide range of marine stakeholders. It represents an updated and streamlined version of the original CSA, making it clearer and easier to understand. This will greatly assist the marine community to operate in a manner that is safer, more efficient and environmentally sound, and responsive to the needs of Canadians in a global economy.
New voyage classifications that promote safety in marine transportation, as well as protect the health and well-being of individuals and crew, have been developed within the Vessel Certificate Regulations.
These new voyage classifications are based on distance from shore and level of risk. The definitions for each of the four voyage classifications can be found within the Vessel Certificates Regulations, which entered into force with the CSA on July 1, 2007.
Vessel owners need to be aware of the new Vessel Certificates Regulations that state which vessels require certification under the CSA 2001. This includes vessels greater than 15 gross tonnage or carrying more than 12 passengers. The Regulations do not apply to pleasure craft or to special purpose craft.
To prove that a vessel is safe to leave on a voyage, all of the documents required by the CSA 2001 must be on board. These documents specify any limitations, and confirm that proper inspections have taken place and that the vessel meets all requirements.
The Vessel Certificates Regulations provide the authority and manner to conduct regulatory inspections and issue certified Canadian Maritime Documents (CMDs) not already addressed by other regulations, and to oversee Port State Control. They also provide objective criteria to suspend or cancel certificates where those conditions are not met.
Streamlining the voyage classification system will:
- provide a high level of consistency in applying voyage classification nationally; and
- provide a high degree of flexibility to limit, on a case-by-case basis, voyages within the new voyage classification system.
The four new voyage classifications are:
- Unlimited voyage:
- A voyage that is not a sheltered voyage
- Not a near-coastal voyage, Class 2
- Not a near-coastal voyage, Class 1
- Near coastal voyage, Class 1:
- A voyage that is not a sheltered water voyage or a near coastal voyage, Class 2
- A voyage that is between places in Canada, the United States (except Hawaii), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the West Indies, Mexico, Central America or the northeast coast of South America
- A voyage during which the vessel is always north of latitude 6 degrees north and within 200 nautical miles from shore or above the continental shelf
- Near coastal voyage, Class 2:
- A voyage that is not a sheltered water voyage
- A voyage within 25 nautical miles from shore inwaters contiguous to Canada, the United States (except Hawaii) or Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and within 100 nautical miles from a place of refuge
- Sheltered waters voyage:
- A voyage that is in Canada on a lake or a river above tidal waters – where a vessel can never be further than one nautical mile from the closest shore
- A voyage that is on the waters listed in column 1 of an item of Schedule 1 during the period specified in column 2 of that item
- A voyage that is made by a ferry between two or more points listed in column 1 of an item in Schedule 2 during the period specified in column 2 of that item
When the CSA 2001 entered into force, the CSA voyage classifications were revoked.
Vessel owners and operators are encouraged to participate in education and awareness initiatives and contribute to a safety culture within the industry.
You can learn more about CSA 2001 and the regulations that affect vessel certificates at the Canadian Marine Advisory Council website at www.cmac-ccmc.gc.ca. You may also call toll-free 1-866-879-9902 or 613-998-7764 in the National Capital Region.