All About Complying with the Canada Shipping Act

Canada Shipping Act

If you’re reading this site, you’ve probably heard of the Canada Shipping Act. It may sound like something that comes from centuries ago, but actually, it was ratified in 2001. This Act greatly impacted and changed how vessel registration works in Canada. If you haven’t registered a vessel in a long time, then the landscape may look very different to you. At the National Vessel Registry Corp., our site is dedicated to helping vessel owners comply with the Act in an easy, simple fashion.

The Canada Shipping Act of 2001

The Act may have been put together in 2001, but it got its start long before that. The first, initial CSA was based on the British Merchant Shipping Act. If you’re thinking “that sounds quite old,” you’re right. That Act comes from 1894. Obviously, the CSA had been modified, amended and altered quite a bit in the intervening century, but the 2001 Act was meant to be something brand new. Of course, in part to make it easier to comply with, the Canadian Government didn’t rush it into practice in 2001. Instead, it fully came into force in 2007.

Pleasure Craft License

The CSA changed quite a few laws in Canadian vessel registration. You can register or licence pleasure craft. Each has different benefits. Of course, you can do both at our site. That means you won’t have to go somewhere to mail it in, use a stamp, etc. Pleasure crafts should be licensed if they don’t carry paying passengers and are only used for recreational purposes. You can choose to register your pleasure craft, but that will cost more. One thing to keep in mind: if you want to get a marine mortgage, then you have to register your pleasure craft.

Canada Shipping Act

Small Vessel Registry

The CSA addresses small vessel registration, too. Just because something seems like a “small vessel,” that doesn’t mean that it’s right for the “small vessel registry.” The vessels that fit here are specifically a non-pleasure craft. That means that they’re used in commerce or to perform some kind of service. As ever, if you aren’t sure whether yours is a pleasure craft or a non-pleasure craft, ask “is someone being paid to be here?” if the answer is yes, then you in all likelihood have a non-pleasure craft. We understand this can be a bit confusing, which is why we always recommend that you give us a call if you have any questions.

We know that some of you may have had a small commercial vessel for a long period of time that you may not have registered. Alternately, we know plenty of folks who got a small commercial watercraft a long time ago but waited to use it as a side business until now. That’s perfectly fine, but any small vessel that was licensed with Canada Customs before 1998 has to go into the Small Vessel Register now. We can walk you through the entire process as our site.

Vessels that Need To Be Registered

Above, we went over some smaller vessels that have to be registered. To be clearer about which vessels specifically need registration, it’s any non-pleasure vessel that has an engine of 10 horsepower or more. That’s 7.5kw for those who use that measurement. This also includes commercial river rafts, too. As you might imagine, this covers quite a number of vessels.

The CSA is also very clear about vessel markings as well. You want to make sure that your commercial vessel has the vessel’s name on the bow and stern, while the port of registry only has to be on the stern. If you have a pleasure craft, then you just need to put the name and port of registry on a part of the hulls’ exterior that can be easily visible.

That’s not all you have to put on the hull. You also need to have the official number and registered tonnage on an interior structural part of the hull. Moreover, you have to have “O.N.” before the official number and “N.R.T.” before registered tonnage.

The above is just a bit of what it takes to be in compliance with the CSA. The CSA changed vessel registration quite a bit in Canada. It made some elements a bit more confusing for the layperson, certainly. That’s why we do everything we can to make it easy on vessel owners. At our site, you can send in all of the forms you need electronically. That makes filling them out a snap. If you have any questions about what are the right forms for your vessel or how to be in compliance with the CSA, call (800) 419-9569.