News releases

TSB # M02-2003

VESSEL STABILITY AND SAFETY CULTURE IN THE FISHING INDUSTRY FOCUS OF TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA (TSB) RECOMMENDATIONS Cap Rouge II - REPORT NO. M02W0147

(Vancouver, B.C.) 20 November 2003 - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today issued three recommendations in its final report on the investigation of the capsizing of the fishing vessel Cap Rouge II at the mouth of the Fraser River on 13 August 2002 in which five persons perished.

The stability of the vessel was found to be an important factor in the capsizing of the Cap Rouge II. Two of the Board's recommendations deal with fishing vessel stability. The Board also found that the lack of a strong safety consciousness and culture contributed to unsafe practices leading to the tragedy. The third recommendation addresses the need to instill and encourage the development in the fishing industry of a safety culture that includes a code of best practices, safety education and awareness programs, and the identification and elimination of unsafe practices.

"Thankfully, important lessons have been learned from what we would all agree was a tragic accident," said Camille Thériault, Chairman of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. "We at the TSB believe that the recommendations made today will make commercial fishing a safer occupation in the future."

On the morning of 13 August 2002, the commercial salmon fishing vessel Cap Rouge II was bound for the entrance of the north arm of the Fraser River. When the vessel was approximately two miles south of Sand Heads Light, it capsized with seven persons on board. Two persons managed to abandon the vessel and climb into a skiff being towed by the fishing vessel. Five persons, including two children, remained within the overturned hull of the Cap Rouge II and drowned.

The three TSB recommendations follow:

Small Fishing Vessel Stability

The Board recommends that

  • The Department of Transport require all new inspected small fishing vessels of closed construction to submit stability data for approval.

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and that

  • The Department of Transport require all existing inspected small fishing vessels currently without any approved stability data be subjected to a roll period test and a corresponding freeboard verification not later than their next scheduled quadrennial inspection.

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Promoting Safety Culture in Fishing Community

The Board further recommends that

  • The Department of Transport, in collaboration with the fishing community, reduce unsafe practices by means of a code of best practices for small fishing vessels, including loading and stability, and that its adoption be encouraged through effective education and awareness programs.

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The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is an independent agency operating under its own Act of Parliament. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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The Chairman's speech and Report no. M02W0147 are also available on this site.


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca