To be a Captain on a small commercial boat, you will need 4 certification courses:

SVOP - Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Certificate

This is the "smallest" Captain's certification. The SVOP is a Transport Canada certification to operate a small commercial boat (less than 5 tons). Fishing, passenger/ tourism, workboat, aquaculture....

SDV-BS - Small Domestic Vessel Basic Safety Certificate (MED A3)

SDV-BS (formerly MED A3) is all about how to deal with emergencies on boats including fires, distress signals, man overboard ....

ROC-M - Restricted Operator Certificate for Maritime Radio

The ROCM certificate is required for anyone operating a marine VHF radio.

The 4th course you need is Marine Basic First Aid (or any Provincially Recognized 2-day first aid course)

These are the minimum requirements to be a Captain

Course Descriptions

SVOP - Small Vehicle Operator Proficiency Certificate

4-day course (26 hours)

Changes are coming to the SVOP soon, register now to avoid the additional expense and time and get ‘Grand-Fathered’ into the new System. Click here for more information.

We run regular SVOP courses in Richmond (Vancouver) and on Vancouver Island in Victoria (Saanich), Duncan, Campbell River and Tofino

The SVOP is a Transport Canada certification to operate a Small Commercial Boat less than 5 Tonnes (or less than 15 GT for Commercial Fishing). It’s good for many types of commerical boats such as Crew boats, Work boats, Sport-fishing, Whale-watching. 
Find more information about vessel requirements, here is a link to Transport Canada’s Small Vessel regulations here:
SVOP classes require 26 hours of classroom time over a 4-day period, participants must attend the whole course to pass. There is a multiple choice exam at the end of the course. We provide all materials.
Using a media-rich, clear & logical presentation, safety and relevance are our priority! We believe that workers and operators remember the information we teach and test when the material is local and relevant to the experience of students in the class. Classes are geared toward media-rich, active, hands on presentation. While we use a textbook and students may take notes, we seek to help students retain safety and important information through latest story telling and memory techniques.
Lessons in SVOP syllabus include: Captain’s Responsibility, Collision Regulations and Avoidance, Chartwork, Ropework, Construction and Stability, Aids to Navigation, Electronic Navigation, Search and Rescue, Boat Handling, Weather and Forecasting, and Tides and Currents.
Our instructors are passionate about what they do. They will do everything they can to help you become a captain. Unlike many other schools, our instructors all have experience running small vessels. They understand the unique challenges faced by small boat captains. And, of course, our instructors are Transport Canada approved  

Small Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (SDVBS)

1-day course (8 hours)

The SDV-BS replaced the MEDA3 certification in 2020– MEDA3 certifications are still valid. 

We run regular SDVBS courses in Richmond (Vancouver) and on Vancouver Island in Victoria (Saanich), Duncan, Campbell River and Tofino

Small Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (formerly Marine Emergency Duties MED-A3) is a one day class concerned with EMERGENCIES on ships such as fire fighting, distress signals, man overboard, abandon ship and cold water shock/hypothermia.
The SDVBS (MEDA3) is NOT a first aid course.  
Small Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (SDVBS) is a one day MED course required for crew on small vessels 5 ton or less (passenger and work boat) or 15 ton for commercial fishing, operating no more than 25 nautical Miles offshore. If you need the SVOP you will also need a MED certification (SDVBS/ MEDA3 – minimum).
This course is all about safety and we use the latest memory enhancement and training techniques to make sure students have the skills to save themselves and passengers in emergency situations.
Coursework covers Responsibility, Abandon ship, Fire, Man Overboard and Emergency Signals.

ROC-M Restricted Operator Certificate Maritime (Marine VHF Radio operator certification)

1-day course (8 hours)

Apply for MMSI number from Industry Canada.

Follow the link below to download a PDF file to apply for an MMSI number from Industry Canada. Be sure to read carefully to see which form is best for you. Typically small commercial vessels operating without EPIRB and no more than 25 Nautical Miles from shore would look at filling out Annex B because vessel operators are required to have ROC-M and required to have DSC capable VHF radios on board.

Industry Canada MMSI Page

We run regular ROCM courses in Richmond (Vancouver) and on Vancouver Island in Victoria (Saanich), Duncan, Campbell River and Tofino

Restricted Operator Course Maritime (MarineVHF radio… ROC-M) is required for all boats using DSC (Digital Selective Calling) VHF radios within 25 miles of shore. As long as you do not operate further out, or your vessel is licensed to go no more than 25 nautical Miles offshore, an ROC-M course (one day) course will usually suffice.
The ROC-M certification does not expire, it’s good for life!
If you’re boat has a marine VHF radio, you are required to hold a marine radio certification (ROCM minimum).
ROC-MC is NOT normally required in these cases and not available at Datum Marine at this time. If in doubt, please consult with Internet, Science and Economic Development Canada – Spectrum Management:
ROC-M is a one day course and has a maximum capacity of 12 students. Coursework includes proper radio conversation protocol, Digital Selective Calling emergency procedures and information concerning the new GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System).

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