In Canada, you need a license to use your boat. Registration is optional. If you wish to insure your boat, a marine survey is required. The surveyor will establish that the boat you've crafted meets or exceeds marine construction standards, including flotation. Unless you've used USCG approved flotation foam, you'll be wasting your time trying to get non-approved materials through the process.
If you’re building a boat in Canada and want to register it (e.g. Hull Identification Number and Capacity Plate) flotation is mandatory. I didn’t want the foam in direct contact with the hull plywood or framing, especially during storage. If you think it’s a lot of extra work, you’re absolutely right !! We’re fitting another 3 cubic feet under the deck along the sheers, intermediate frames and transom deck. The other issue is weight. I’m not too happy about hauling an extra 15 to 20 pounds which will mess up the boat’s balance if it’s not spread evenly throughout the hull.
A pleasure craft shall meet the current construction standards. If its date of construction is before the day on which these Regulations come into force, the pleasure craft shall meet the construction requirements in force on that date.
702 - Pleasure Craft
A pleasure craft licence is a unique licence number which is affixed to your boat. The number allows Search and Rescue personnel to access important information in an emergency.
In Canada, a licence is mandatory for all pleasure craft equipped with motors of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more, including personal watercraft. As of November 1, 2010, Transport Canada is the only federal institution issuing Pleasure Craft Licences. The pleasure craft licence is free of charge, however, a licence is not a title document. You must also carry other documents, such as a document that establishes ownership, to help avoid delays clearing U.S. or Canada customs, or in case of a fine.
Registration is optional for all pleasure craft. You do not need a pleasure craft licence if a boat is registered
The Transport Canada Website
explains the difference between a pleasure craft licence and pleasure craft registration, and which vessels need which documents.
Procedures for Registration in Canada
If you wish to insure your boat, your insurance broker may require a marine survey for insurance purposes. The survey will determine
if the vessel meets the Construction Standards and will provide a fair market value or replacement cost. The vessel construction standards
include a requirement for flotation.
Maximum safe load and Persons Capacity
The Maximum safe load and the persons capacity that a boat can carry is based on the displacement weight of a boat. Displacement weight is essentially the amount of weight that it would take to sink your boat. There are several ways to find this out. You can calculate the volume of water displaced (hence displacement) when the boat is sunk to the point where water starts to come in, also called the static float plane. Multiply this volume times 62.4 (the weight of one cubic foot of fresh water).
The link below explains the USCG rules :
Safe Loading And Capacity (USCG)
Your boat's Displacement at LWL might be stated on your plans ... Info was included on the Hot Rod plans ! Look for a section listing Overall Length, Waterline Length, Beam, Disp. at L.W.L and CB.
If not listed on your plans, the link below explains how to obtain the estimated hull displacement weight.
As a plans provider, Glen-L Marine Designs isn't required to calculate Maximum Boat Capacity :
"When the US Boating and Safety Act was first passed we assumed we would be required to calculate these figures for each design. We
contacted the USCG to ask how we should go about this and they asked if we built the boats... no, then you cannot make the
calculations. Only the builder can certify the figures as the builder may not follow the plans."
Source : WebLetter 99
Numerical methods may be used to determine the weight required to sink the boat to the sheer level (swamped float plane) :
Hull Identification Number (HIN)
Also note that Section 18.104.22.168 Exceptions for the Marking of Hull Serial Number (HIN) (page 14) states that ... a vessel is not required to be marked with a hull serial number if ... the vessel is constructed, manufactured, rebuilt or imported by an individual for personal use.
Flotation foam calculator
If you're from the USA, you may want to review flotation regulations in the
Boatbuilder's Handbook (PDF), more specifically, Subpart G — Flotation Requirements For Outboard Boats Rated for Engines of More Than 2 Horsepower.
We've developed an Excel spreadsheet for calculating flotation foam requirements for inboards. The numbers were run for the Glen-L Hot Rod and accepted by Transport Canada. The spreadsheet was later modified for the Glen-L Monaco. A copy of the spreadsheet is available for dowload. If you're proficient with Excel and patient enough to review the outboard regulations, the spreadsheet can be tweaked to suit the outboard flotation requirements.
Disclaimer : The spreadsheet can be a little tweaky -- use at your own risk ! Regulations are constantly evolving, so modifications may be required to suit current standards.
Glen-L Monaco flotation calculation
Click the 'Sheet 2' tab at the bottom of the frame to display
specific gravity & dry and submerged weights.
If you plan to install flotation foam in the bilge, either USCG approved foam or encapsulated non-compliant foam should be used.
You may be creating a fire hazard if using non-encapsulated foam. Try igniting a small piece of foam with a lighter or blowtorch to see if it passes the test. The results may shock you ...
Level Flotation Material Requirements
183.222 - Flotation material and air chambers
(a) Flotation materials must meet the requirements in Sec. 183.114 as listed in Table 183.114 when used in the bilge, unless located in a sealed compartment.
The bilge is the volume located below a line parallel to the reference waterline. This line is located 4" up from the lowest point where water may accumulate in the boat.
Sealed compartment means an enclosure that can resist an exterior water level of 12 inches without seepage of more than one-quarter fluid ounce per hour.
We installed most of the foam up high under the deck before laying the deck. Not much help when you're trying to retrofit to a finished boat, but useful if you're still in the build phase.
Calculations of Buoy Buoyancy and Payload Size Considerations
The objective is to determine how much water (in weight) the buoy displaces. So, first, calculate its volume. Then, using the specific weight of water (62 lb. per cubic foot) determine how much weight of water would be displaced if the structure was completely submerged. Then, subtract from that the actual air weight of the object. This gives give you its reserve buoyancy, or an amount of payload you can add to it before it sinks.
Mathematically, the equation for buoyancy is calculated by determining the volume of the object and subtracting the air weight of the object (put it on a scale). The resultant number is the reserve buoyancy.
The equation is :
Reserve Buoyancy = (Vol of air inside the object (ft3) x 62 lb/ft 3 – (air weight of object in lbs)
From a practical standpoint, smaller non-powered plywood boats often have no flotation installed, or may only need a minimal amount since plywood will support about 45% more weight in addition to its own weight before it becomes submerged.
Here's another point to consider if you can't figure out where to install all that foam. Once submerged, wood will support about 45% more weight in addition to its own weight before it sinks. You'll be using up your safety factor and may have to recover the boat if it sinks.
For example :
Submerged weight of frames = 172 lbs
Submerged weight of lumber and ply = 289 lbs
Total submerged weight = 461 lbs * .45 = 217 lbs required to sink the submerged hull
This would save 217 / 63 = 3.4 cubic feet of foam
Reference : Boatbuilding with Plywood by Glen L Witt, Appendix, Adding Flotation, pg 297
Foam Moldings Tips
- Mold Release Agents : If you don't have any PVA Release Agent, a silicone-free wax such as Johson's Floor Paste Wax can be used. Spraying your mold with PAM cooking oil should work. For large, flat areas, we spread out some contact cement and applied aluminum foil and plastic film.
- Instead of installing foam in the bilge, consider installing foam billets under your deck. This moves the foam out of the bilge area and prevent the boat from turtling over if it was mounted low in the hull.
- Level flotation is required for outboards, so casting a few blocks up high along the gunwales would help to support the rear of the boat.
Flotation Foam Suppliers
If you don't want to mess with a pour-in-place foam and prefer the point-and-shoot convenience of a spray foam, Fomo Products' Handi-Foam® Slow Rise Foam meets the U.S.Coast Guard Spec. Look for it at your local big box store or building supply outlet.