Let’s Talk small vessels noise emissions

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Consultation has concluded

Background: Vessel engine noise emissions

The Small Vessel Regulations currently require that all power-driven vessels be equipped with a muffler. This requirement helps make sure that the engine noise from power-driven vessels is limited to avoid disturbing the environment and others using the waterway.

While a muffler is required, the regulations don’t include any performance standards for mufflers or engine noise emission limits.

These gaps have led to concerns that vessel engine noise sometimes exceeds acceptable levels. Police have also noted that it’s hard to enforce the current requirements as they lack the technical expertise needed to identify whether a muffler is properly equipped or not.

Transport Canada is looking at several ways to address these concerns.

Proposed options

Option 1: Make no changes

This option would not add any new regulatory requirements.

Considerations:

  • No additional cost to industry or police
  • Vessels could continue to be built and operate at excessive noise levels
  • Police would continue to face challenges identifying whether vessels comply with the Small Vessel Regulations
  • No incentive for industry to build quieter vessels

Option 2: Clarify and modernize existing requirements

This option would update the Small Vessel Regulations to clarify existing requirements, for example, more descriptive technical specifications for mufflers.

Considerations:

  • Clarifying current requirements could help the police identify whether a vessel complies with the Small Vessel Regulations (For example, is a vessel equipped with a muffler?)
  • No additional cost to industry or police
  • Proposed changes would not address vessels that comply with the regulations but still produce excessive noise
  • Proposed changes don’t consider future technologies that could address engine noise

Option 3: Introduce performance standards for manufacturers to follow

This option would update the Small Vessel Regulations to require companies that make and import pleasure craft to test their vessels to make sure their engine noise does not exceed set noise-emission levels.

Considerations:

  • Could be a cost-neutral solution for industry who already do similar testing for vessels in other markets
  • Would make sure that new vessels don’t exceed engine noise-emission levels
  • Would not apply to existing vessels whose engine produces excessive noise
  • Would be hard for police to check whether vessels have been properly tested

Option 4: Introduce performance standards for vessel operators to follow

This option would add engine noise-emission limits to the Small Vessel Regulations. It would also ban vessels from being used in a way that exceeds noise-emission limits when tested according to set standards.

Considerations:

  • Police could more easily identify whether a vessel complies with the regulations
  • No additional cost or requirements to industry
  • Police would need to buy equipment to measure noise levels and train officers on how to use it
  • Vessel operators who comply with the current regulations may need to modify their vessels to meet new requirements

Option 5: Introduce performance standards for manufacturers and vessel operators to follow

This option would combine Options 3 and 4. It would update the Small Vessel Regulations so both manufacturers and operators must make sure their vessels don’t exceed noise-emission levels.

Considerations:

  • Proposed changes would make sure that new and existing vessels don’t exceed noise-emission levels
  • Police could more easily identify whether a vessel complies with the regulations
  • Police would need to buy equipment to measure noise levels and train officers on how to use it
  • Vessel operators who comply with the current regulations may need to modify their vessels to meet new requirements

We want to hear from you

  1. Choose “Register” at the top of the page, and join the discussion under the “Have Your Say” tab
  2. You can also submit your comments in a Word or PDF document through the “Submissions” tab (one or more documents can be uploaded)

Background: Vessel engine noise emissions

The Small Vessel Regulations currently require that all power-driven vessels be equipped with a muffler. This requirement helps make sure that the engine noise from power-driven vessels is limited to avoid disturbing the environment and others using the waterway.

While a muffler is required, the regulations don’t include any performance standards for mufflers or engine noise emission limits.

These gaps have led to concerns that vessel engine noise sometimes exceeds acceptable levels. Police have also noted that it’s hard to enforce the current requirements as they lack the technical expertise needed to identify whether a muffler is properly equipped or not.

Transport Canada is looking at several ways to address these concerns.

Proposed options

Option 1: Make no changes

This option would not add any new regulatory requirements.

Considerations:

  • No additional cost to industry or police
  • Vessels could continue to be built and operate at excessive noise levels
  • Police would continue to face challenges identifying whether vessels comply with the Small Vessel Regulations
  • No incentive for industry to build quieter vessels

Option 2: Clarify and modernize existing requirements

This option would update the Small Vessel Regulations to clarify existing requirements, for example, more descriptive technical specifications for mufflers.

Considerations:

  • Clarifying current requirements could help the police identify whether a vessel complies with the Small Vessel Regulations (For example, is a vessel equipped with a muffler?)
  • No additional cost to industry or police
  • Proposed changes would not address vessels that comply with the regulations but still produce excessive noise
  • Proposed changes don’t consider future technologies that could address engine noise

Option 3: Introduce performance standards for manufacturers to follow

This option would update the Small Vessel Regulations to require companies that make and import pleasure craft to test their vessels to make sure their engine noise does not exceed set noise-emission levels.

Considerations:

  • Could be a cost-neutral solution for industry who already do similar testing for vessels in other markets
  • Would make sure that new vessels don’t exceed engine noise-emission levels
  • Would not apply to existing vessels whose engine produces excessive noise
  • Would be hard for police to check whether vessels have been properly tested

Option 4: Introduce performance standards for vessel operators to follow

This option would add engine noise-emission limits to the Small Vessel Regulations. It would also ban vessels from being used in a way that exceeds noise-emission limits when tested according to set standards.

Considerations:

  • Police could more easily identify whether a vessel complies with the regulations
  • No additional cost or requirements to industry
  • Police would need to buy equipment to measure noise levels and train officers on how to use it
  • Vessel operators who comply with the current regulations may need to modify their vessels to meet new requirements

Option 5: Introduce performance standards for manufacturers and vessel operators to follow

This option would combine Options 3 and 4. It would update the Small Vessel Regulations so both manufacturers and operators must make sure their vessels don’t exceed noise-emission levels.

Considerations:

  • Proposed changes would make sure that new and existing vessels don’t exceed noise-emission levels
  • Police could more easily identify whether a vessel complies with the regulations
  • Police would need to buy equipment to measure noise levels and train officers on how to use it
  • Vessel operators who comply with the current regulations may need to modify their vessels to meet new requirements

We want to hear from you

  1. Choose “Register” at the top of the page, and join the discussion under the “Have Your Say” tab
  2. You can also submit your comments in a Word or PDF document through the “Submissions” tab (one or more documents can be uploaded)
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