So you want to run a Water Taxi.

With recent news of a NW Arm Ferry service waiting for dock installation to start, the question was asked what is required to Setup and operate such a service. So here is what you need to do it.

As a passenger – Look for the vessel registration on the bow, and Blue Compliance Decal

Kings Wharf Water taxi (file photo)

Captain and Crew.
In our post, so you want to be a captain, I covered various licenses, and what they allow you to operate. Since Halifax is a sheltered waters Voyage, A PCOC is valid if you only need to carry 6 or fewer passengers and your boat is under 8m in length. the Kings wharf water taxi operates under this regime. To Carry up to 12 passengers, you will need a SVOP+medA3. In either case you will need a Marine First aid Course.

Crew will Require Med A3, and First aid.

The Vessel.
if the Vessel is over 6 meters, it will need to meet small vessel construction standards. something built as a pleasure craft will not necessarily suffice, though in the case of a pontoon boat, it likely meets the stability and rail height requirements.

The vessel will need to be registered with Transport Canada vessel registry. Registered vessels will either have a name on the stern, or in the case of small vessels, a registry number on the Bow. The vessel is also required to be enrolled in Transport Canada’s Small Vessel Compliance Program (SVCP).

The SVCP requires reporting to TC every 5 years, and they issue you a decal that certifies your vessel is compliant. The form is essentially a checklist to ensure compliance with regulations that mandate required safety equipment. if the vessel is found compliant, then a decal is issued to the vessel. (Blue is for Passenger vessels and work boats, red for Fishing Vessels.)

Operations.
Transport Canada requires a safety briefing be given to all passengers indicating the location and usage of life jackets. it can be Oral, a Video, or signage with pictograms.

I spoke to another tour boat operator about Insurance. They carry $2 million in Liability coverage, plus hull insurance on the boat. Coverage cost is around $3500/year.

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