Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP) and Small Domestic Vessel – Basic Safety (SDV-BS)


This course is designed for entry level or experienced seafarers who will serve as the operator of a small vessel and covers the basic knowledge required to operate the vessel in waters up to 25 miles offshore. This course meets the requirements of Transport Canada as provided in TP Document 14962E.

The course provides basic training in the requirements of the operator of a small vessel, including collision avoidance, voyage planning, basic navigation, workplace safety, emergency procedures, and pollution prevention and maintaining the vessel. The graduate can then build on the skills and knowledge gained by observation, study and practical operation of a small vessel and the equipment provided on the ship they are serving on.

The skill level required for successful completion of the course will be based on the individual’s ability to provide for their own safety during the situation presented and the contribution made by the individual to the successful completion of the operation.

The knowledge portions of the course are intended to contribute to the trainee’s understanding of the practical skills required and provide confidence in the equipment provided.


This program will cover:

  • Privileges and limitations of the certificate issued
  • Small vessel terminology
  • Vessel hull types and configuration
  • Mooring of a vessel and related seamanship work
  • Anchor handling
  • Collision Regulations & collision avoidance
  • Maintaining small vessel stability
  • On the boat safety – safe working practices and safety culture
  • 40 Mount Hope Avenue, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4K9 P 902.465.3888 F 902.466.2929 E
  • Marine weather and marine forecasts
  • Navigation, positioning equipment and installations
  • The use of radar for navigation safety
  • Power vessel operations
  • Dealing with emergency situations
  • Search and rescue resources
  • Maritime law and protection of the marine environments pertaining to small vessels
  • Departure preparations and the general use of checklists

While the majority of content for this program is theoretical, Survival Systems Training will incorporate practical exercises wherever possible at its training locations and with its vessels/equipment and/or those of the trainee’s employer


The course objectives include providing the trainee with the following:

  • Confidence, knowledge and skills to operate a small commercial vessel safely and effectively
  • Knowledge and skills to plan the trip, execute and complete the trip safely and effectively
  • Knowledge when NOT to attempt the voyage because of weather, sea, or other conditions making it unsafe to proceed
  • Knowledge of what types of hull and propulsion systems are available and to determine which is appropriate to their needs and understand the advantages and limitations of each hull type and propulsion system
  • Basic knowledge of boat handling and docking manoeuvres
  • Knowledge of how to read a chart, determine the vessel’s position by electronic aids as well as by compass bearings and use the Canadian buoyage system as an aid to navigation
  • Knowledge of what actions are required in an emergency, what resources can be called upon and how to access them quickly and effectively in an emergency
  • Knowledge to prevent pollution and of the consequences of causing pollution
  • Knowledge of how to access the appropriate regulations, TP documents and standards as appropriate to their needs
  • Quick reference checklists for a variety of emergency or infrequently performed activities so they do not miss a vital step in the process


Five (5) days. This course will be a minimum of forty (40) hours when combined with the SDV-BS as per Transport Canada requirements.

Course Details


  • Trainees are expected to be in a good state of health and physically capable of fully taking part in all program activities. Trainees are expected to participate in all physical training requirements.
  • A valid Government Identification is required and must be presented for registration and to the instructor on the first day of course commencement. (Driver’s License, Passport, Vantage card)

WITHOUT EXCEPTION, those trainees in non-compliance will be refused and billed the full program fee.


All persons who successfully complete the program based on the performance standards will receive:

  • A Transport Canada certificate of completion for Small Vessel Operator Proficiency
  • A Transport Canada certificate of completion for Small Non-pleasure Domestic Vessel Basic Safety

This course requires 100% attendance by the trainee and that they participate willingly and to their fullest extent in the practical activities involved before they can be considered to have completed the practical portions of the course.

General Course Information

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