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Regulations, Recommendations and Information for yachts transiting the NW Passage

By Sue Richards last modified Aug 05, 2010 02:12 PM

Published: 2010-08-05 14:12:36
Countries: Canada

As published by

Allen S. Williams, Manager, Marine Safety for the Prairie and Northern Region of Canada, has supplied the following information for all yachts wishing to transit the Northwest Passage:

Many Transport Canada Regulations do not apply to small vessels like yachts. However please read this website for useful information applicable to ALL traffic transiting the Canadian Arctic.

The Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations entered into force July 1, 2010. Here is the link for your immediate reference.

Although yachts under 300 gross tonnes are not required by these regulations to comply, we yet recommend that you voluntarily comply for your own enhanced safety. One of the main objectives of the regulations, is to ensure our readiness to briskly respond to any emergency situation such as distress, pollution, collision, damage etc. Knowing the exact location of a vessel, aids in facilitating a high degree of efficiency for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries Ocean in coordinating Search and Rescue or any other effort aimed at providing assistance to a vessel.

There are other benefits to be gained from regularly reporting the ship's (yacht's) position to the Canadian Coast Radio station.

Although the ice regime will not apply to you, we recommend that the yachters familiarize themselves with the the ice regime and all that is involved in navigating in ice in Canadian Arctic waters. The publication is called Arctic Ice Regime Shipping Standards TP 12259. Here is the link:

Similar information is also available on the User Assistance Package for the Implementation of Canada's Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System TP 12819 which can be found on this site:

We have some useful information provided in Guidelines for the Operation of Passenger Vessels in Canadian Arctic Waters TP 13670.

Please also note that absolutely no pollution is tolerated in the Arctic. Yachters should familiarize themselves with the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act as well as the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Regulations.

The Yachts should be provided with appropriate charts and publications for which please read our Charts and Publications Regulations.

Other useful information:
Navigation Safety Regulations
Ship Station (Radio) Regulations
Steering Appliances and Equipment Regulations
Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters

Generally, yachters should be adequately supplied with fresh water, fuel, food, stores and safety equipment, because help in terms of supplies - whether food, fuel or spare parts - may not be readily nor easily available while transiting the Northwest passage.

Important telephone numbers:
Canadian Coast Guard Radio St. John's, Newfoundland: (709) 772-2106, e-mail:
Iqaluit Coast Guard Radio: Telephone (867) 979-5724, e-mail:
Inuvik Coast Guard Radio: Telephone (867) 777-3625 or (867) 777-2667, e-mail: