Transport Canada – Use of Pleasure Craft as Commercial Passenger Vessels

Transport Canada – Use of Pleasure Craft as Commercial Passenger Vessels


Transport Canada

Safety and Security

     Transports Canada

    Sécurité et sûreté



Tower C, Place de Ville

11th Floor

330 Sparks Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0N8

Tour C, Place de Ville

11e étage

330, rue Sparks

Ottawa ON K1A 0N8


To whom it may concern

85 Bay Street, PO Box 1000

Barry’s Bay

K0J 1B0, Canada



La version française suivra


SUBJECT:    Use of pleasure craft as commercial passenger vessels


Dear Township of Madawaska Valley,


In recent years, the emergence of online platforms and mobile applications which allow pleasure craft owners to list their vessels for rent, have made it easier for vessel owners to turn their underutilized assets into revenue generators. However, as with short-term property rental and ride sharing services (e.g., Airbnb, Uber, etc.), not all operators of these new small businesses are familiar with the laws and regulations governing them, in particular when the boat is rented with captain and crew.


Safety is Transport Canada’s main priority. Transport Canada has no doubt that the safety of the vessels operated by users of these platforms, and the people on board them, is also considered a high importance by the operators of these services. However, to ensure all vessels being used through these sites are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations appropriate for their usage, Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security is undertaking enhanced outreach to help all owners and operators of these vessels become, or remain, safe and fully compliant with Canadian laws and regulations.


Our initial review of the vessels listed on these online platforms available to rent in Canada showed that while most are licensed as pleasure craft, many appear to be operating as commercial passenger vessels instead (please refer to the definitions in the attached document). As you are aware, the regulations, safety requirements and liability significantly differ from pleasure craft to commercial passenger vessel operations. Transport Canada will be working to help the owners and operators of these vessels understand and become familiar with these key differences, but we would also like to raise the differences with local municipality’s such as yourself, so you have easy access to materials highlighting the applicable rules and requirements.


To this end, please find attached a document outlining key regulatory differences between these vessel types. Transport Canada has already forwarded these to owners of vessels listed on online platforms so they may understand their responsibilities to comply with Canadian laws and their applicable regulations. Transport Canada has developed the Safe Boating Guide to assist owners and operators remain in compliance with applicable regulations and to provide safe operating guidelines for vessels that are rented and operated as pleasure craft. Transport Canada has also developed two additional guidance instruments that would be helpful to the operators of vessels which are carrying passengers for hire.


These instruments are as follows:


Furthermore, Transport Canada has included a link to our website (Transport Canada Website) which will provide additional information to anyone using these online platforms in Canada. This information will help raise awareness and understanding of responsibilities when Canadians are choosing to rent a vessel.


Transport Canada is taking this opportunity to provide you with information in respect to our actions in response to this issue and looks forward to working together as necessary to keep our waterways safe for all boaters. Please contact, Nicole MacMillan, Boating Safety Officer, at (226) 402-4255, or, should you have any questions regarding our response to this topic or require additional information.



Yours sincerely,


Nathalie Godin

Manager of Flagstate, Compliance & Enforcement (AMSDF)

Transport Canada / Government of Canada / Tel: (343) 571-4597