Get your card today


What is a Compliance Notice on a Boat?

July 29, 2022

A compliance notice is a guarantee from the manufacturer or importer that a boat meets the construction requirements set out in the Small Vessel Regulations. Manufacturers and importers are responsible for attaching their own compliance notices, which should be based on the format and specifications provided by Transport Canada.

Compliance notice requirements

According to the Small Vessel Regulations, pleasure craft under 24 m that can be fitted with an engine must display a compliance notice in a location that is visible from the helm. There are a few exceptions, including vessels built or imported by an individual for personal use, tugs, and high-powered vessels that are only used for racing.

If a vessel was built after April 29, 2010 and is propelled by an engine but has no compliance notice, the operator should ask the manufacturer or importer to provide one. Pleasure craft operators cannot be fined if a manufacturer or importer fails to attach a compliance notice to their vessel, but removing or altering a compliance notice is prohibited, as is affixing one with incorrect information.

Having a compliance notice from another country or organization is permitted, but it doesn’t replace the requirement for a Canadian compliance notice.

Types of boat compliance notices

Compliance notices for vessels under 6 m

Compliance notices for vessels under 6 m are the same for both pleasure craft and non-pleasure craft, but differ slightly depending on whether the boat is equipped with an outboard, stern-drive or inboard engine. They must contain a statement certifying that the craft meets the construction requirements set out in the Small Vessel Regulations.

Compliance notices for vessels under 6 m are also known as capacity labels, because they set out safe limits for load capacity, engine power and the number of people allowed on board. Note that these limits are based on good weather conditions. In bad weather, such as high winds, it’s best to stay well under capacity and keep to a slow, safe speed to lower the risk of accidents.

Compliance notices for vessels over 6 m

Compliance notices for vessels over 6 m differ depending on whether or not the boat is considered a pleasure craft. The notice must state that the vessel was built in conformity with either pleasure craft or non-pleasure craft construction requirements, whichever applies.

Non-pleasure craft compliance notices indicate that the vessel can also be used as a pleasure craft. However, a pleasure craft over 6 m cannot be used as a non-pleasure craft unless it is modified to comply with the construction requirements of a non-pleasure craft.

Find out more about boating regulations from Drive a Boat Canada!

The compliance notice is just one of the many regulations boaters in Canada need to be aware of. Did you know that you need a boating license to legally operate a boat on Canadian waters? Prospective boaters must take a safety course provided by a Transport Canada-accredited organization and pass a boating exam online or in person in order to obtain their boat license. Register for your course with Drive a Boat Canada today, and check out our blog for more information on boating regulations!