Transport Canada Introduces New Seaplane Rules

Transport CanadaSubmerged aircraft. (Source: Ontario Provincial Police)

Transport Canada Introduces New Seaplane Rules

Transport Canada has acted upon longstanding critique that has lasted for years. Canadians, tourists and businesses benefit from safe and reliable seaplane operations. Seaplanes offer a unique and convenient way to explore Canada’s landscape, and are a vital lifeline into remote corners of Canada’s North during the summer months.

Safety Week

Submerged aircraft. (Source: Ontario Provincial Police)

“Our Government understands how important a safe and reliable seaplane industry‎ is to the economic and social development of Canada’s coastal and northern communities. By mandating that passengers wear personal flotation devices while on or above water, and by strengthening requirements for underwater exit training for pilots, we’re enhancing safety for thousands of Canadians and tourists who rely on seaplanes for their personal and business travel needs.” Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, stated while announcing the new Canadian Aviation Regulations.

The changes require:

  • passengers and crew of commercial seaplanes with nine passengers or less to wear an inflatable flotation device while the aircraft operates on or over water. In seaplanes with 10 to 19 passengers, flotation devices will continue to be required onboard for all occupants; however, occupants will not be required to wear the flotation device.
  • mandatory training for all pilots of commercial seaplanes on how to exit an aircraft under water.

Commercial seaplane operators have 18 months after today’s publication of the regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II, to implement the new rules requiring passengers to wear personal flotation devices while on or above water. The pilot exit training must be implemented within 36 months.

The changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations respond to recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, following a 2009 seaplane accident in Lyall Harbour, British Columbia, and a 2012 accident in Lillabelle Lake, Ontario.