TP 1332 – FAQ’s on Regulations and Construction Standards for Small Vessels

These FAQ’s are based on the new Small Vessel Regulations and the latest edition of the Construction Standards for Small Vessels – TP1332 (2010) that came into effect on April 29, 2010.

Q. Where can I see a copy of the new Small Vessel Regulations?
A. The Small Vessel Regulations can be viewed online at:

Q. What are the most relevant sections of the Small Vessel Regulations for boatbuilders?
A. Part 7 – Construction Requirements
Part 8 – Compliance Notices, and
Part 9 – Hull Serial Numbers.

Q. Where can I get a copy of the latest version of TP1332?
A. The Construction  Standards for Small Vessels – TP1332 (2010) can be downloaded at:

Q. What are some important changes in the new regulations and standards that are of most interest to boatbuilders?
A. Changes of most interest to boatbuilders are:

  • Non-pleasure craft (not more than 12 metres LOA) must now be fitted with a Hull Serial Number (HIN) and a Compliance Notice Label.
  • There are new requirements regarding sewage pollution and mufflers.
  • Transport Canada has stopped producing compliance labels.  Boatbuilders now have to make their own compliance labels or acquire them from a commercial printer.  Boatbuilders can call or email the NSBA for advice on acquiring labels.
  • Safety notices are to be provided in English and French and meet the requirements of ABYC Standard T-5, Safety Signs and Labels.
  • The Single Vessel Label program has been phased out.

Q. What is the first step to properly identifying a boat?
A. All boatbuilders must first have a Manufacturer’s Identification Code (MIC). This three-character code is referenced in Appendix 1 of TP1332 (2010). To obtain a Manufacturer Identification Code the form REQUEST FOR A MANUFACTURER IDENTIFICATION CODE (Form No. 80-0008) must be completed and submitted to Transport Canada.  The MIC is unique to each boatbuilder.

Q. Is a Canadian MIC recognized in the US?
A. Transport Canada and the US Coast Guard have a reciprocal agreement under which a MIC issued to a Canadian boatbuilder by Transport Canada is recognized by the US Coast Guard.  Likewise, a MIC issued by the United States Coast Guard to a US boatbuilder is recognized in Canada.

Q. What’s the next step after getting a MIC and, which boats need to have some type of identification?
A. All boats should have a Hull Identification Number (HIN) that must be marked on the upper starboard quarter of the outside surface of the transom.  This number includes the MIC and is unique to each boat. The HIN is assigned by the builder using a specific pattern.  TP1332 (2010) Section 1 describes the method for determining the HIN for each vessel.  A vessel is not required to be marked with a hull serial number if the vessel is constructed or rebuilt by an individual for personal use.

Q. Why do boats have to have a HIN?
A. A HIN is a legal requirement in Canada, the US and Europe for all small boats.  This includes kayaks, canoes and sailboats in addition to powerboats.  The HIN is very helpful in identifying a boat that is lost or stolen, or is recalled by the manufacturer because of a defect.  Also, many insurance companies won’t cover a boat that doesn’t have a HIN.  If exporting to the US, customs officials will look for a HIN at the border.  If they can’t find one, they may refuse entry.

Q. Where should the HIN be marked on the boat?
A. The HIN should be clearly displayed on the upper starboard quarter of the outside of the transom.  It is up to the builder to decide how to display the HIN; it can be carved into the transom, embossed on a brass plate; or moulded in with a reverse label.  (NOTE: The NSBA can supply HIN labels, printed in reverse for sticking in a hull mould.  Call the NSBA to order your HIN label.)  All boats also have to have the HIN marked somewhere else on the vessel where it cannot be easily seen, such as under a piece of hardware.  The location of the ‘hidden HIN’ is known only to the builder  who must provide its location to the proper authorities if the boat is lost or stolen.

Q. What other marks or labels are required to be placed on a boat by the builder?
A. All boats, with few exceptions, must have a compliance notice label attached.  A compliance notice takes one of three forms:

  • A capacity label for vessels of not more than 6 metres in length that shows the maximum recommended safe limits for power, weight and the number of passengers.
  • A conformity label for vessels of more than 6 metres in length that either
    • shows conformity with the requirements for pleasure craft, or
    • shows conformity with the requirements for a non-pleasure craft.
  • There may also be a requirement for safety notice labels for fuel systems or electrical shore power connections.  The required safety labels are shown in TP1332 (2010)  in the sections where the specific items are discussed.

Q. What other documentation does the boat need?
A. The Small Vessel Regulations require the boatbuilder to submit a Declaration of Conformity to Transport Canada for each vessel.  The form replaces the Statutory Declaration that was required by the old regulations.  A copy of the Declaration of Conformity (Form No. 80-0009) can be obtained from:

A person who is authorized to administer oaths in Canada must witness the Declaration of Conformity.  The boatbuilder must provide the buyer or reseller of the boat with a copy of the Declaration of Conformity.

Q. Will Canadian labels (conformity or capacity) be accepted by the US Coast Guard once a customer takes their boat home?
A. No, the US only recognizes compliance labels that meet the requirements of the US regulations.  If you are building a boat for export to the US, you or the person importing the boat into the US, will have to put the labels required by the US Coast Guard on the boat.  Information on what is required can be found in the USCG Boatbuilder’s Handbook that can be downloaded from:

Q. If the boat is greater than 6m (19’8″), which label does the boat need?
A. Boats greater than 6m (19’8″) in length require a conformity label. Builders only need to submit a Declaration of Conformity to the effect that the boat meets the requirements of the Small Vessel Regulations and TP1332 (2010).  TP1332 (2010) has no floatation or stability requirements for pleasure boats greater than 6m in length.  The Small Vessel Regulations have requirements for stability for non-pleasure vessels that are longer than 6m.

Q. Where did the 6m threshold come from?
A. Five metres is the norm, based on the types of boats tested. In the late 1990s the threshold was stretched to 6m (19’8″) to try and prevent loss of life.  The US regulations have  a 20′ threshold.

Q. If the boat is less than 6m (19’8″), what label does the boat need?
A. Boats less than 6m (19’8″) require a capacity label.

Q. Are these capacity ratings mandatory? Is the builder liable if the ratings are exceeded?
A. It is mandatory for the boatbuilder to put capacity ratings on the boat, however, it is the responsibility of the operator to follow the recommendations and operate the boat in a safe manner.  Insurance companies and enforcement officials pay attention to the recommended ratings if an accident occurs.  If it is proven that the operator failed to abide by the recommended load and power ratings, the operator could face legal liability for willfully placing the occupants of the boat in a potentially dangerous situation.  If the boatbuilder did not put the ratings on the boat, then he could be partially or even fully liable for an accident.

Q. Why does the Declaration of Conformity have to be signed by a lawyer or notary public?
A. A signature of a lawyer or notary public is required to make the Declaration of Conformity legally binding.  A single declaration can be signed to cover all boats of a particular model; this saves going to a lawyer or notary public each time a boat is completed.

Q. Are there construction standards for small boats that TC will accept?
A. As a general rule, no.  The exception is for specific types of boats, such as Personal Water Craft (PWC). It’s best to contact TC directly if there is any question.

Q. Where can I find the recommended maximum safety limits for rigid inflatable boats (RIBs)?
A. Flotation, load and power ratings for RIBs are provided in TP1332 (2010), Section 4.6.

Q. I’ve just completed restoration work on a used boat. What are my responsibilities?
A. A rebuilt vessel must comply with the construction requirements in force on the date of the rebuilding.  The single vessel compliance label program has been discontinued; however, the same DECLARATION OF CONFORMITY (Form NO. 80-0009) that is required for a new vessel is required for an imported secondhand vessel or rebuilt vessel.  This process is easier if the boat has the original manufacturer’s HIN.  Builders should be very cautious about accepting work on any hulls that do not have a HIN. Appendix 1.6 of  TP1332 (2010) provides guidance for the preparation of a DECLARATION OF CONFORMITY when the technical documentation for a vessel is not available.

Q. I’m building a boat that will be used for fishing and charter. What should I do?
A. If you’re building a boat for various applications (such as a combination commercial fishing / whale-watching boat), you as the builder should check with Transport Canada early in the process to find out what your specific responsibilities are. This can save considerable time, expense and frustration as the boat nears completion. For a combined pleasure / commercial boat, builders must comply with construction requirements for non-pleasure boats.

Q. If a person builds or restores a boat for their own use, do they need to install a HIN or compliance notice on it?
A. No, but the person cannot sell the boat until they both a HIN and a compliance label. The Small Vessel Regulations addresses this issue.  Section 903(2) states, “The builder, manufacturer or rebuilder of a vessel shall permanently mark a hull serial number on the hull of the vessel before its first sale to a reseller or end user”.  However, Section 904 states, “A vessel is not required to be marked with a hull serial number if the vessel is constructed, manufactured, rebuilt or imported by an individual for personal use.” Section 801(1) has similar provisions regarding the requirement for a compliance notice.  This person should also be aware that they may have difficulty registering or licensing the vessel if it does not have a HIN.

For more information contact the NSBA office at 902.423.2378 or email

Click here to return to the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association Members Only News page.