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Why is Toronto Segwun’s Port of Registry?

November 13, 2017

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Port of registryTuesday Tales from the Archives – contributor Jack McIrvine

Ships larger than canoes, rowboats, and kayaks, and powered by engines larger than 9.9 hp (7.5 kw) have to be licensed or registered. Commercial ships and any boat larger than 20 tons displacement have to be registered. So what is the difference?

Port of Registry

Registration is done through a ‘port of registry’. In the case of RMS Segwun, the nearest port of registry is Toronto.  This is not the home or berthing port.  To complete the registration, the ship must be ‘surveyed’ or measured by a professional marine surveyor, and ‘named’ with the name approved by the Minister of Transport.  The name must be unique.  Before the ship can operate legally, the name and port of registry must be displayed on the stern or ‘some clearly visible exterior part of the hull’.  Further, the official net registered tonnage and the official registration number must be displayed in numbers and letters at least 4 inches tall in a clearly visible interior location in such a way that they cannot be removed or replaced; and the draft marks must be shown on bow and stern.  Registration is valid for the full life of the vessel.

Any ship which is not a pleasure craft and not registered in a foreign country must be registered in Canada. Commercial vessels may include kayaks, canoes, white-water rafts, and sailboats for charter.  Also, any pleasure craft larger than 20 tons (about 40-50 feet long) must be registered at present, although this requirement may be relaxed in the near future.  Smaller pleasure craft may be registered, at the owner’s option.  The advantages of registration lie in proof of ownership, ease of passage into other countries, and obtaining a mortgage (as distinct from a loan) to finance its purchase.

In contrast, the pleasure craft license provides unique license number for a pleasure craft. The number provides important information to emergency response personnel.  All pleasure craft powered by engines larger than 9.9 hp (7.5 kw) must be licensed, unless they are registered.  A pleasure craft cannot be both registered and licensed.  The license numbers must be shown on both sides of the bow of the craft in letters and numbers at least 7.5 cm (3 in) high in a color which contrasts with the colour of the bow.

Licenses must be carried on board while the boat is in operation. Licenses are transferrable to a new owner when the boat is sold.  Licenses are valid for 10 years.

The Muskoka Navigation Company’s three ships (port of registry – Toronto) have the following statistics:

RM S Segwun              Official Number 92443           Net Register tonnage 168

Wenonah II                  Official Number 823618         Net Register tonnage 138

Wanda (III)                  Official Number 137902         Net Register tonnage 38

Jack McIrvine, Archives Volunteer