Canada: New rules come into force to boost offshore helicopter safety

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport in the Cabinet of Canada, has today announced the coming into force of amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations that will enhance the safety of offshore helicopter operations in Canada.

These new regulations will:

– prohibit offshore helicopter operations when weather or water conditions make ditching in the water unsafe;
– require operators to provide an emergency underwater breathing apparatus to each crew member and passenger on board and train them how to use it properly; and
– require all crew members to wear a water immersion survival suit specifically designed for crew.

These regulations come into effect today, April 22, 2015, bringing Canada “in line with international standards and best practices for offshore helicopter operations”.

According to Canadian government, these measures fully respond to two recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada following a fatal helicopter accident off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2009. Furthermore, the two Canadian companies that provide offshore helicopter operations off Canada’s East Coast—Cougar Helicopters and CHC Helicopter—already meet the new standard.

“The goal of Canada’s new offshore helicopter standard is to give passengers and crew the best possible chance of surviving an unexpected landing at sea. These measures build upon Canada’s already strong safety regime,” The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport said.

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