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Transport Canada Small Vessel Machinery Operator (SVMO) Licence Requirements for Canadian Small Vessel Operators

svmo ferry

The Small Vessel Machinery Operator (SVMO) is a Transport Canada certification to operate a Commercial Passenger Boat. The Small Vessel Machinery Operator (SVMO) or Small Vessel Machinery Operator - Restricted (SVMO-R) is the minimum Marine Engineer Certificate required for passenger vessels that have propulsive power from 75 to 749 kW and do not go beyond a Limited Near Coastal Voyage, Class 2.

The SVMO is also acceptable for passenger vessels with propulsive power from 750 to 1499 kW; and workboats with propulsive power from 750 to 1999 kW on voyages that last less than 6 hours and are either a Limited Near Coastal Voyage, Class 2 or a Sheltered Waters Voyage, if certain conditions are met.

canada passenger boat

SVMO is a Transport Canada certification to operate a Commercial Passenger Boat

Transport Canada Sea Service Requirements for Small Vessel Machinery Operator


  • Acquire at least two months of qualifying service as follows:
  • At least 1 month of sea service as an engineer or a rating performing engine-room duties on one or more motor vessels; and
  • Any remaining time any combination of the types of sea service requirements set out here
  • An applicant for a Small Vessel Machinery Operator certificate restricted for use on board a specified passenger-carrying vessel that has a propulsive power of less than 750 kW and is engaged on a limited near coastal voyage, Class 2 or a sheltered waters voyage may, instead of meeting the above requirements,
    • (a) successfully complete training related to the propulsion system and safety systems fitted on the vessel; or
    • (b) acquire at least 10 days of sea service performing engine-room duties on the vessel or a vessel of the same class

Certificate Requirements for Small Vessel Machinery Operator

  • MED with respect to small passenger vessel safety
  • Marine basic first aid

Examination Requirements for Small Vessel Machinery Operator

  • Written examination on general engineering knowledge of small vessels, after meeting the requirements above (sea service and certificate requirements)
  • After passing the above examination, oral examination on general engineering knowledge of small vessels if applying for an unrestricted certificate, and
  • Practical examination on board the vessel in respect of which the certificate is sought if applying for the restricted certificate

Disclaimer: For general information purpose - please check with Transport Canada for the latest requirements and accurate info

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