Maritime traffic in Prince Rupert Harbour on World Maritime Day, Sept. 24, 2020. The federal government has announced $2 million in funding to assist small-vessel operators with 75 per cent of costs for safety upgrades that help prevent collisions with large ships. (Photo:K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Funding announced for small-vessel safety projects

Federal program aimed at reducing collissions with large ships

The federal government has announced plans to fund 75 per cent of costs for safety projects of small vessels that regularly interact with larger ships.

Eligible projects must focus on increasing the safety of operators of small fishing and commercial vessels, or Indigenous boaters to encourage safe navigation practices, help prevent collisions between small and large vessels and encourage compliance with regulations.

“Canadian waterways are vital for Indigenous and coastal communities, international trade and our economy. It is our duty to protect them,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau stated in a press release. “Funding programs to advance safety for boaters, especially for small vessel and fishing vessel operators, is another example of how our government is committed to keeping all Canadian safe.”

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A total of $2 million is being made available under the Small Vessel Safety Component of Transport Canada’s Boating Safety Contribution Program, which helps organizations promote boating safety or conduct research on the most effective ways to change boating behaviours.

Operators can apply for up to $200,000 toward projects that begin on or after April 1, 2021.

Not-for-profit NGOs, public safety organizations, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, enforcement services and local governments are also eligible for funding.

According to the Canadian Red Cross, there are an average of 160 water-related fatalities while boating each year. Nearly 90 per cent of boaters who drowned were not wearing, or not properly wearing, a lifejacket.

The Small Vessel Safety Component is part of the Government of Canada’s response to Recommendation 12 of the Canada Energy Regulator’s (formerly the National Energy Board) Reconsideration Report on the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project.

Visit Transport Canada’s website for more information.