Captain Lesley Head remains as enthusiastic about safe and legal vessel operation today as when she started Heads-Up Navigation in 1998. "This year is my 20th anniversary of providing 'On-the-Water' training for individuals," in the boating world or those moving up to much larger vessels. In the current day-to-day delivery of high-value training for vessels, the majority of Captain Head's students are in operation of commercial vessels.
However, in 1999 Captain Head became the first Recognized Provider for the newly instated Pleasure Craft Operators Card. In the ensuing years she licensed over 8000 people from 8 to 88 years of age. In 2018 the focus has turned to instruction of Industry Canada and Transport Canada courses. (In order to comply with regulation on teaching at this level, Captain Head obtained a Teacher's Diploma.)
SVOP, ROC-M, Basic Marine First Aid and MED A-3 (MED-SDV-BS) are required by all small commercial and workboat operators. "If you are a crew-member, Master or Operator of any vessel engaged in any type of commercial work, you must have certification," she says. In fact, fines up to $5000 will be given to commercial operators and their crew if they are working without proper certification and 'original' certificates must be aboard for viewing by authorities.
Furthermore, the safe operation of commercial vessels is top priority for Transport Canada, "Depending upon the size of vessel, type of activity, or distance from shore," she says, "you will be required to have one or more of the many safety courses to satisfy Transport Canada."
Regulations that apply to your operation of a vessel depend on whether it is a commercial (non-pleasure), fishing, special purpose, or recreational (pleasure craft) vessel. She explains, "Regulations and requirements to safeguard a vessel and its occupants increase as the risk increases. All commercial vessels must be inspected and approved by Transport Canada before being put into service," and they must also be registered with the Small Commercial Vessel Registry.
As size of vessel increases -- in the number of passengers, operating area, and environmental risk factors -- more stringent requirements are added to mitigate against the growing number of risks. "In other words, small commercial vessels navigating in sheltered waters require less regulations and safety equipment than sea-going vessels, and this applies to construction standards and operator certification."
Captain Head says, "A voyage classification will be assigned to your vessel according to the area of operation." Most small vessels operate in Sheltered Waters (new areas of Sheltered waters were added in 2017) or Near Coastal Class 2 Waters. She notes voyage classifications have changed recently, and suggests vessel operators check with local Transport Canada offices for up-to-date classifications.
Crew Work-boat operators with work-boats for crew purposes (carry less than 6 passengers, are under 8 meters in length and work only in sheltered waters or rivers) may need a PCOC card only. All others require an SVOP. She suggests further inquiry at Transport Canada to clarify vessel and operator qualifications.
Charter fishing operators working on their own must have Marine First Aid, SDV-BS (formerly MED A3, ROC-M and SVOP) to comply with current Transport Canada standards. "Their vessel must also comply with new rules of the CSA 2001," she says. "Stability assessments are a high priority, so be prepared to have a Transport Canada officer assist you or you will be asked to do your own assessment using the latest Transport Canada Transport Publication."
Heads-Up Navigation training may be offered at several locations in Victoria and Sidney. "Our new office location is #5-2075 Henry Ave. West Sidney, V8L 1T2, and we hold classes at this location. But we are portable. I have kit to deliver training in SVOP, ROC-M and MED A 3 courses anywhwere in Canada (travel and accommodations extra)."
On-the-water training is done at any location, "including your boat! Or you can join us for training aboard our vessel for a 'Cruise 'n Learn' voyage using I.S.P.A. courses. We have different sized vessels available for this purpose." (Check www.solitudecharters.com for more information.) "You could spend 5 or 7 days navigating in beautiful B.C. waters, and prepare for your future as a cruising vessel owner or operator at the same time!"
Ph: 1-250-704-0325 | Toll Free: 1-877-655-4656
Lesley Head, Proprietor
#5-2075 Henry Ave. West,
Sidney, BC V8L 1T2
Providing Courses in MED-A3, SVOP, ROC-M, PCOC, First Aid
Captain Lesley Head