Transport Canada issues fines for illegal operation of a pleasure craft as an uncertified commercial tour boat  

News release

July 27, 2021               Toronto, ON            Transport Canada

Transport Canada has issued fines to an individual who has violated various provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, by illegally operating a privately owned pleasure craft as an uncertified commercial tour boat. These actions contributed to a fatal boating incident on Lake Simcoe, Ontario, in September 2020.

On September 3, 2020, the pleasure craft was carrying paying passengers for a tour without proper certification, licensing, or required safety measures. This pleasure craft had been advertised as a tour boat online and was hired by a group of friends to tour Lake Simcoe for a private gathering. During this outing, one of the passengers fell overboard and drowned. Our sincere condolences go out to the loved ones of the victim of this incident.

Transport Canada investigated this incident and issued fines totaling $6,500 for the following violations of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001:

  • operating a vessel without a certificate of registry or provisional certificate on board, in violation of ss.63(1);
  • operating a vessel without the proper certificate of competency, in violation of s.87;
  • failing to ensure that the vessel and its machinery and equipment complied with regulations, in violation of Para 106(1)(a);
  • failing to establish operational and emergency safety procedures, in violation of Para 106(1)(b);
  • failing to provide passengers with the necessary safety briefings and training, in violation of Para 106(1)(c); and
  • taking actions that could jeopardize the safety of the vessel or passengers, in violation of s.118.

These fines were issued as part of Transport Canada’s efforts to pursue stringent enforcement actions against anyone who violates rules that are in place to ensure transportation safety and protection of the public.

Transport Canada recognizes the role that the South Simcoe Police Service played in response to this incident and appreciates their contribution to our investigation.

Transport Canada does not hesitate to take action when regulatory non-compliance is identified and will continue to take appropriate action to protect the safety and security of the public.

Quick facts

  • Pleasure craft are not designed or licenced to be operated as commercial vessels. In order to operate a commercial vessel, there are rigorous certification, licencing, and required safety measures that must be followed.

  • Transport Canada advises caution when deciding to hire and charter a vessel. To ensure a vessel is operating legally as a small commercial enterprise and has the appropriate safety measures in place, look for the following:

    • a Transport Canada Blue Decal displayed on the vessel that shows that the owner/operator has complied with safety and operating procedures set out by Transport Canada;
    • a Transport Canada certificate displayed on larger vessels that carry more than 12 passengers.
  • You can also contact your local Transport Canada Centre to inquire whether the vessel is certified.


Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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