In a press release issued on Wednesday of this week, Transport Canada announced changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) that will require passengers and crew of commercial seaplanes seating up to nine to wear an inflatable personal flotation device (PFD) for all operations on or above water. Operators of seaplanes seating 10 to 19 passengers will be required to have inflatable PFDs available on board, but occupants will not be required to wear them.
In addition to the above, underwater egress training will be mandatory for all pilots of commercial seaplanes. Commercial seaplane operators will have 18 months to comply to the new rules.
“Our government understands how important a safe and reliable seaplane industry is to the economic and social development of Canada’s coastal and northern communities,” said Transport minister Marc Garneau. “By mandating that passengers wear personal flotation devices while on or above water, and by strengthening requirements for underwater exit training for pilots, we’re enhancing safety for thousands of Canadians and tourists who rely on seaplanes for their personal and business travel needs.”
These changes to the CARs are a direct result of recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board after a 2009 seaplane accident in Lyall Harbour, B.C. and a 2012 accident in Lillabelle Lake, Ont. The same recommendations have also been repeated in subsequent TSB accident investigation reports having similar circumstances.