ARCHIVED — Special-purpose Vessels Regulations

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Registration

SOR/2008-121 April 17, 2008

CANADA SHIPPING ACT, 2001

P.C. 2008-775 April 17, 2008

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, pursuant to paragraph 35(1)(e)(see footnote a), section 100 and subsection 120(1) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001(see footnote b), hereby makes the annexed Special-purpose Vessels Regulations.

SPECIAL-PURPOSE VESSELS REGULATIONS

INTERPRETATION

1. The following definitions apply in these Regulations.

“class 3 or above waters” means waters that have

(a) rapids with moderate and irregular waves; or

(b) rapids that are stronger, have more obstructions or are otherwise more difficult to navigate than rapids with moderate and irregular waves. (eaux de classe 3 ou plus)

“guide”, in respect of a vessel, means its master. (guide)

“helmet” means a helmet that has a fastening system and is designed to protect from injury the head of a person who wears it from the mid-line of the forehead to the back of the crown of the head. (casque protecteur)

APPLICATION

2. (1) These Regulations apply in respect of Canadian vessels that are inflatable and carry persons on an excursion in Canadian waters for remuneration.

(2) These Regulations do not apply in respect of motorized rigid-hull inflatable vessels.

RESPONSIBILITIES

3. (1) Every person in charge of an enterprise that engages in an excursion shall ensure that the requirements set out in sections 4 to 17 are met in respect of the excursion.

(2) A vessel’s guide shall ensure that the requirements set out in sections 12 to 17 are met in respect of the vessel.

VESSELS AND EQUIPMENT

VESSELS

4. (1) Every vessel on an excursion shall be of sound construction and in good condition so as to be able to withstand the weather and water conditions that may reasonably be expected on the excursion.

(2) Every vessel shall have a line that is becketed to the gunwale around the outside of the vessel or safety straps that are suitable to use as handgrips.

5. Every vessel shall be able to maintain buoyancy if any one of its buoyancy chambers deflates.

6. (1) Every vessel shall have sufficient seating so that every person on board can be seated.

(2) No vessel shall be loaded to exceed the manufacturer’s capacity recommendations, if any.

EQUIPMENT

7. (1) Every person on an excursion, other than a guide, shall be provided with a properly sized small-vessel lifejacket or white-water vest.

(2) Before January 1, 2012, a person on an excursion in waters that are not class 3 or above waters may be provided with a properly sized personal flotation device instead of the equipment required by subsection (1).

(3) Every guide on an excursion shall be provided with a properly sized small-vessel lifejacket or white-water vest or an inherently buoyant and properly sized personal flotation device that has a quick release harness.

(4) Every person on an excursion in class 3 or above waters, other than a person on an excursion on a motorized vessel that is over 6 m in length, shall be provided with a properly sized helmet.

(5) Subsection (4) does not apply in respect of an excursion in waters where there are no rocks or other hard objects that could cause impact injuries to a person who falls overboard.

(6) Every person on an excursion in class 3 or above waters where the water temperature is less than 15° C shall, unless the excursion is on a motorized vessel that is over 6 m in length, be provided with properly sized gear designed to provide thermal protection to the body core when a person is immersed in water.

(7) Every small-vessel lifejacket, white-water vest or personal flotation device provided under any of subsections (1) to (3)

(a) shall, in the case of a small-vessel lifejacket, bear in English and French its manufacturer’s marking or labelling indicating that it meets the standards set out in CAN/CGSB-65.7-M88, Lifejackets, Inherently Buoyant Type or the standards for a class 2 lifejacket set out in the CAN/CGSB-65.7-2007, Lifejackets;

(b) shall, in the case of a personal flotation device, bear in English and French its manufacturer’s marking or labelling indicating that it meets the standards for type I personal flotation devices set out in CAN/CGSB-65.11-M88, Personal Flotation Devices;

(c) shall, in the case of a white-water vest, have been approved by the United States Coast Guard for use in commercial white-water activities;

(d) shall not be altered in a manner that

(i) compromises its original structural integrity, or

(ii) diminishes the integrity or readability of any marking or labelling required by paragraph (a) or (b);

(e) shall be in good condition; and

(f) shall be maintained and replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations, if any, that come with the equipment.

(8) A person who provides their own equipment or gear that meets the applicable requirements of subsections (1) to (7) shall be considered to have been provided with that equipment or gear.

8. (1) A first aid kit that contains the following shall be carried in a watertight container by one vessel out of every five or fewer vessels travelling together:

(a) 20 adhesive bandages;

(b) two sterile pads;

(c) one 10-cm × 4.5-m gauze bandage;

(d) one 7.5-cm × 4.5-m roller bandage;

(e) one triangular bandage, with a minimum base length of 100 cm, and two pins;

(f) one 1.25-cm × 4.5-m roll of adhesive first-aid tape;

(g) one pair of safety scissors;

(h) 60 mL of antiseptic wound solution and 10 disposable applicators, or 10 antiseptic swabs;

(i) a first aid manual;

(j) two pairs of latex examination gloves; and

(k) one resuscitation face shield.

(2) Every vessel shall carry a throw bag that has at least 15 m of buoyant line.

9. Every vessel shall carry, travel with another vessel that carries or be at all times within 5 km of a cache that contains

(a) a repair kit for inflatable vessels;

(b) an air pump;

(c) an engine repair kit and a spare motor if the vessel is propelled by a motor; and

(d) a spare oar with an oarlock or clip if the vessel is propelled by oars.

OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

10. (1) Every vessel’s guide shall

(a) be at least 18 years of age;

(b) hold a standard first aid certificate as defined in section 16.1 of the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; and

(c) if the excursion is in class 3 or above waters, have completed five excursions in class 3 or above waters on an inflatable vessel, other than a motorized rigid-hull inflatable vessel.

(2) If the excursion is in class 3 or above waters, every vessel’s guide shall have completed one excursion on any type of vessel in those waters. However, if the excursion includes more than five nights, any guide who is not the excursion leader may instead have completed one excursion in other waters that are of equal or greater difficulty to navigate than the waters in which the excursion takes place.

(3) Before an excursion is started, every vessel’s guide shall ensure that he or she is aware of

(a) the current and expected conditions and the hazards of the waters in which the excursion will take place; and

(b) the contents of the rescue plan required by section 17.

11. Every overnight excursion in class 3 or above waters shall include the participation of a person who holds a swift-water rescue certificate that is evidence of their successful completion of theoretical and practical training in the skills and knowledge necessary for swift-water rescues, including training in

(a) selecting and using swift-water rescue equipment;

(b) executing swift-water rescues;

(c) ensuring the safety of rescue personnel; and

(d) identifying and managing medical emergencies and carrying out evacuations.

12. Before an excursion is started, every person on the excursion, other than the guides, shall receive a safety briefing that includes

(a) information about the excursion and a warning about the nature of the hazards of the waters in which it will take place;

(b) a description of the general safety precautions to take and the routine procedures to follow in the waters;

(c) details of the requirement under section 13 to wear equipment, as well as directions regarding its use; and

(d) a description of the procedures to follow in the event of emergencies during the excursion, including casualties, persons overboard and the swamping and capsizing of vessels.

13. (1) Every person who is provided with a small-vessel lifejacket, white-water vest or personal flotation device under section 7 shall wear it when on board a vessel.

(2) Every person who is provided with a helmet under subsection 7(4) shall wear it when on board a vessel in class 3 or above waters.

(3) Every person who is provided with gear under subsection 7(6) shall wear it when on board a vessel in class 3 or above waters where the water temperature is less than 15°C.

14. Any equipment or material that is on board a vessel and that is not being used shall be properly stowed and secured in place when the vessel is moving.

15. No person may be allowed on board a vessel if there are reasonable grounds to believe that their faculties are impaired by alcohol or a drug to an extent that they might present a hazard to the vessel or to persons on board it.

16. Except in an emergency, no vessel shall be operated

(a) in class 3 or above waters unless it is accompanied by another vessel, whether inflatable or not; or

(b) in class 3 or above waters during the period beginning one-half hour after sunset and ending one-half hour before sunrise.

17. On every excursion, a rescue plan in respect of the excursion that contains the procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency, including the following procedures, shall be carried on a vessel:

(a) a description of the means of communication to be used in an emergency;

(b) emergency telephone numbers, such as the telephone numbers of local law enforcement and search and rescue groups;

(c) a description of pull-out or extraction sites from which, in an emergency, persons can be transported by air or land; and

(d) the procedures to be followed in a medical emergency.

RECORDS

18. Every person in charge of an enterprise that engages in an excursion shall keep, for three years after the excursion, records that include

(a) in respect of each guide on the excursion, the name of the guide, the date of the excursion, the number of passengers on the excursion and the class of waters and a geographical description of the waters in which the excursion took place;

(b) information in respect of the certificates required by paragraph 10(1)(b) and section 11, including the name of the holder of the certificate, its date of issuance and, if applicable, the name of the institution that issued it and the endorsed propulsion method;

(c) the contents of the safety briefing required by section 12; and

(d) a copy of the rescue plan required by section 17.

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS TO THE SMALL VESSEL REGULATIONS

19. (1) The portion of subsection 3(1) of the Small Vessel Regulations (see footnote 1) before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

3. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), these Regulations, except for Part I, apply in respect of the following small vessels:

(2) Section 3 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

(3) These Regulations do not apply in respect of vessels in respect of which the Special-purpose Vessels Regulations apply.

COMING INTO FORCE

20. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Description

The Special-purpose Vessels Regulations (the Regulations), made under the Canada Shipping Act,2001, set out the requirements for the safe operation of commercial river rafting in Canada and replace the requirements for river rafting currently found in the Boating Restriction Regulations. The Boating Restriction Regulations provide for the establishment of restrictions to boating activities and navigation in Canadian waters. Since 1987, the federal government regulated commercial river rafting through the Boating Restriction Regulations by prohibiting any person from operating a commercial river raft in specified waters unless they obtained a permit from the Minister and complied with any conditions set out in the permit. The Transport Canada (TC) River Rafting Standards, TP 8643, governed the conditions set out in the permit. Under the Boating Restriction Regulations the only waters specified were the rivers of British Columbia.

A number of high-profile river rafting incidents in British Columbia in the early 1980s caused the federal government and the Government of British Columbia to address the safety of commercial river rafting. River Rafting Standards were published in 1987 as a result of extensive consultations with the province and industry. In the meantime, National Parks managed the safety of river rafting through permit systems under the authority of the Canada National Parks Act, and industry associations developed guidelines for the safe operation of commercial river rafts. This patchwork approach created opportunities for a handful of substandard operations to continue.

Following a river rafting incident in Alberta in 1999, further discussions took place between industry and the federal and provincial governments. Since voluntary compliance with standards had not been uniformly effective, consensus was reached that the various standards and permit systems needed rationalization and a single regulatory standard is required in Canada to ensure the safety of the public.

The federal government made a commitment to provincial governments, specifically to British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec, to establish comprehensive and consistent standards for commercial river rafting across Canada. With this in mind, British Columbia repealed its Commercial River Rafting Safety Act and the accompanying regulations in 2003. No other province had similar regulations or guidelines.

The Regulations establish minimum standards for commercial river rafting and apply them to all waters in Canada instead of limiting the regulatory regime to the waters specified in the Boating Restriction Regulations. As a result, all commercial river rafting requirements are now contained in a single regulation. This provides a more effective and consistent application of safety standards across the country than was previously the case.

Since the Regulations do not rely on a permit system, TP 8643 no longer applies.

The Regulations incorporate industry “best practices” and address such matters as

  • vessel and safety equipment requirements (e.g. helmets, lifejackets and their equivalents, and the circumstances in which they must be worn);
  • operational requirements (e.g. first aid training, familiarization trips and safety briefings); and
  • the keeping of records for three years after an excursion, including the name(s) of the guide(s), the date of the excursion, the number of passengers on the excursion, a geographical description of the waters on which the excursion took place, the contents of the safety briefing and a copy of the rescue plan.

Alternatives

The alternative to implementing the Regulations is to maintain the status quo. This would jeopardize safety because substandard commercial river rafting operations would be permitted to continue to operate without the use of the appropriate safety equipment, proper training or familiarization. Most operations acknowledge that an element of risk is associated with river rafting and, therefore, most favour the adoption of the Regulations as a significant mechanism for managing that risk.

Benefits and c osts

There are approximately 230 commercial river rafting operations in Canada, with the largest concentration in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia. The majority of these enterprises operate within well-organized associations such as the Canadian Rivers Council (CRC), the Professional River Outfitters Association of Alberta (PROAOA) and Jasper’s Professional River Outfitters. These associations have established guidelines that are mirrored in the Regulations. Therefore, the Regulations will ensure a consistent and enforceable application of safety standards related to river rafting across the country.

Vessels and equipment

TC has completed a comparative analysis of regulatory and non-regulatory requirements for safety equipment used by industry. Most of the vessel and equipment requirements in the Regulations are consistent with “best practices” followed by the majority of industry, as well as with international standards. Therefore, most operations will not incur any additional costs when the Regulations come into force.

It is generally acknowledged that an element of risk does exist in this industry. The lack of appropriate safety equipment could result in serious head injuries and loss of life due to drowning, hypothermia or cold shock. The basic safety equipment requirements in the Regulations are minimal but necessary and should not cause any undue financial hardship to operations that will be required to purchase safety equipment. However, in order to facilitate the transition to a higher standard, persons on excursions may continue to be provided with personal flotation devices instead of lifejackets or white water vests before 2012.

Operational requirements

The intent of the Regulations is to ensure a consistent and enforceable application of river rafting safety standards across the country. Since guides are the first to intervene on site when there is an incident or accident, their knowledge of first aid and emergency plans is essential. In addition, the guide’s knowledge of the areas where trips are made plays a crucial role in the safety of individuals on rafting excursions by enabling the guide to better assess the risks encountered during the journey. The first aid training and familiarization trips required by the Regulations are based on current industry “best practices.”

Records

The majority of operations already keep records of each rafting excursion. The record-keeping requirements were not an issue when consulted upon, since there should not be any problems in complying with the requirements. In the event of an incident or accident, these records will be beneficial.

Environmental considerations

A preliminary scan for environmental impacts has been undertaken in accordance with the criteria of Transport Canada’s Strategic Environmental Assessment Policy Statement — March 2001. The preliminary scan has led to the conclusion that a detailed analysis is not necessary. Further assessments or studies regarding environmental effects of this initiative are not likely to yield a different determination.

Consultation

Consultations have been ongoing with industry since 1987, at which time the TC Marine Safety River Rafting Standards, TP 8643, were developed. More formal consultations on the Regulations took place in Kamloops, British Columbia (October 2002); Calgary, Alberta (November 2002); Ottawa, Ontario (November 2002), Whitehorse, Yukon (January 2003); and Montréal and Québec City, Quebec (February 2003).

There were no significant objections to the proposed Regulations since the majority of operations already meet or exceed the proposed requirements.

Pre- p ublication

The Regulations were pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette on August 11, 2007, followed by a 60-day public comment period. A number of comments were received, most of which have been addressed in the current wording of the Regulations:

  • The Yukon Territorial Government and a number of industry organizations from northern British Columbia and Yukon expressed concern that the requirement for every guide in charge of a vessel to have experience on the specific river being run was impractical on northern rivers, where the business model is significantly different from the southern portion of the industry. In northern British Columbia and Yukon, a river may be run only once in a season, but the excursion may last 10 days to two weeks and normally involves multiple vessels. The northern industry believed there would be no opportunity for new guides to learn the river, which would seriously affect the industry. Industry practice in the north is to ensure that the lead guide on any multi-vessel excursion is experienced on the river being run, and the other guides in charge of vessels must have experience on other rivers with similar degrees of difficulty. The Regulations have been revised to reflect this practice on all excursions of six days or more in length.
  • Another issue of concern to northern operators was that the proposed Regulations required that the guide or person responsible for the excursion provide each person on an excursion with a lifejacket or personal flotation device that meets the requirements of the Regulations. A strict interpretation of the Regulations would require the guide to provide a personal flotation device to a client, even if the client brought their own to the excursion. The Regulations have been revised to permit this practice so long as the client’s personal flotation device meets the applicable requirements set out in the Regulations.
  • Certain stakeholders expressed concern that excursions in tidal bores in certain rivers do not need to provide helmets to their clients because they operate over a mud bottom in which there is extremely little risk of head injury. In response to these concerns, the Regulations have been revised to exempt excursions that take place where there are no rocks or other hard objects that could cause impact injuries to a person who falls overboard from the requirement to provide their clients with safety helmets.
  • In response to stakeholder concerns, the requirement to ensure that there is seating for each person on board has been modified to include a provision that the manufacturer’s rated capacity recommendations (if any) should not be exceeded.

Other concerns expressed by stakeholders were that the requirement that no vessel should travel alone on high risk waters (rated class 3 of 5 levels of river difficulty and above) and that requirements for record keeping were too stringent. However, other stakeholders expressed opposite views or did not believe these issues were important. Therefore no changes were made to the Regulations with respect to these issues.

Finally, a concern was expressed that the standards for guide training and familiarization were, in general, not stringent enough. These requirements are, however, based on industry best practices, and represent a minimum standard. Enterprises that engage in excursions may exceed the minimum standard to any degree they believe enhances safety and are consistently encouraged to do so.

Compliance and e nforcement

Compliance with the Regulations will be achieved through the Small Vessel Inspection Program conducted by TC marine safety inspectors. Local enforcement agencies may also request TC to designate local enforcement officers with an interest in public safety issues (such as police and conservation officers) with the authority to respond to compliance and safety issues while engaged on their regular duties.

Contact

Kevin Monahan
Project Manager
Regulatory Services and Quality Assurance (AMSX)
Marine Safety
Transport Canada
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5
Telephone: 613-998-8207
Fax: 613-991-5670
Email: monahak@tc.gc.ca

Footnote a
 S.C. 2005, c. 29, s. 16(1)

Footnote b
 S.C. 2001, c. 26

Footnote 1
 C.R.C., c. 1487