NASBLA Roundtable

Propeller-driven surfboard type vessels

  • 1.  Propeller-driven surfboard type vessels

    Posted 07-31-2020 11:22 AM
    ​Decades ago (mid- 60s to mid 70s), Canada made the use of propeller-driven surfboard type vessels, illegal in the Small Vessel Regulations (ss. 1006(b)). It was my understanding that is provision was added after there had been some serious incidents that resulted in prop cuts and fatalities in another jurisdiction (possibly the US or Australia).  Attempts to find reports of any incidents during those years has been challenging, with limited results.

    Within the last year in Canada, we are seeing propeller-driven surfboard type vessels entering the market and being sold or rented to the public. One model has an open spinning prop with no guard or shroud in place. Our enforcement partners are out and have stopped people from using these devices, which has not been popular with members of the public who purchased their new, expensive toy [purchase price starts at over 10K USD] or the businesses that imported the vessels not realizing that they were illegal to used in Canada.

    Transport Canada is in the early stages of developing a way forward...one that will protect public safety yet allow for new technology.  Our questions are:
    • How have other jurisdictions addressed the use of these devices?  Banned? Allowed with conditions? Not regulated?
    • Does anyone have any reports of injuries or incidents involving these types of vessels? We've heard that there has been at least one injury last summer in Canada, but because using the device is illegal...they have gone underground and we are unable to verify.
    • Other thoughts?
    Any comments, stats and advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

    ------------------------------
    Michelle Maruk
    Small Vessel Officer
    Office of Boating Safety - HQ
    Transport Canada
    ------------------------------