Small Commercial Marine Business Policy

It is an exciting time to be in Nova Scotia at the water’s edge. It is where our ocean economy is building. It is where world-class researchers and industry innovate and collaborate to connect with new markets. It is where visitors come to experience and celebrate our maritime culture. It is where our residents, current and future, find inspiration. There is a new momentum in Nova Scotia and at the centre of this energy is “place”. Our place by the sea is our greatest natural advantage. It gives the world a reason to know us, to do business with us and to visit us. It shapes our culture and industry on and off the water’s edge – it always has. The extent to which we are able to harness this natural competitive advantage and develop it sustainably, will determine our future prosperity.

Develop Nova Scotia believes in a province where innovation and initiative are reflected in our business decisions. To this end, we are proud to support the entrepreneurial spirit of those who are focused on adding to the economic fabric of our province through policies such as this.

The purpose of the Small Commercial Marine Business Policy is to:

  • Allow marine businesses the opportunity to use  Develop Nova Scotia infrastructure in a manner that compliments traditional tendering processes;
  • Increase marine service offerings for all those visiting the Halifax Harbour; and 
  • Enhance the experience that our visitors have during their adventure at the water’s edge

Develop Nova Scotia operates a variety of marine infrastructure in different parts of the Halifax Harbour like the Halifax waterfront or the floating docks at Garrison Pier on McNabs Island and have multiple established opportunities on our properties for starting or growing a business. Established opportunities typically become available every three to five years but at times may become available at short notice.

The purpose of the Small Commercial Marine Business Policy is to allow people to engage us with new ideas and innovative opportunities. All should know, Develop Nova Scotia is open for business!

Through this policy, proposals may be considered for selection and entry to the “Blue Line” accreditation program which will include our insurance and safety procedure validation. Being accepted as part of this program will provide the applicant with access to specifically designated shared parts of Develop Nova Scotia owned and or operated infrastructure around the Halifax Harbour. Succesfull applicants will receive a “Blue Sticker”, which is to be deployed on their vessel. Terms will be for one season (July 13th to October 31st 2020), as listed and further detailed below (exact locations to be confirmed seasonally):

  • Halifax Waterfront;
  • McNabs Island; and
  • Dartmouth Waterfront

To submit a Small Commercial Marine proposal, potential applicants should submit a simple document (no more than four pages, excluding the sustainability assessment) describing:

  • Contact details for the proposed business;
  • A description of the proposed business concept and operational structure;
  • Description of Safety Procedures;
  • Filled out Sustainability Assessment (see link);
  • Proof of Vessel Registration;
  • Description of VHF procedures while operating; and
  • Insurance documentation as per the following:
    • The Licensee shall throughout the Term obtain and maintain public liability insurance satisfactory to Develop Nova Scotia covering bodily injury, sickness or disease, or death of any person, property damage, personal injury and legal liability arising from the use and occupancy of the Site and shall provide a certificate of insurance to Develop Nova Scotia;
    • The Licensee shall add Develop Nova Scotia as an additional insured;
    • The Licensee shall provide that the insurance will be written in such terms to contain waiver or waivers of subrogation against Develop Nova Scotia and shall protect Develop Nova Scotia in respect of claims by the Licensee as if Develop Nova Scotia were separately insured; and
    • The limits of coverage shall be $5,000,000 in respect of each occurrence or accident

Regarding consideration for potential selection, proposals will be evaluated based on the above list of mandatory submission requirements and will be accepted based on a first come first serve basis (no preference given to previously accepted businesses) until the maximum number of registered vessels is reached. For the 2020 season, the maximum number of vessels is 10. The number of vessels proposed in a submission may be restricted and, the number of vessel seasonally admitted to the program may be adjusted at the sole discretion of Develop Nova Scotia. 

The process for the 2020 season will start on July 13th 2020 at 2 PM AST – NOT BEFORE.

Proposals must be submitted electronically in one email to The subject line must read “Small Commercial Marine Proposal”. Nothing more is required in the subject line. Applicants will be notified of proposal status within thirty (30) days of receipt by Develop Nova Scotia. Proposals shall be retained (in-season only) in case additional spaces open within this program framework. In advance of a applicant being accepted, a Form of Agreement will need to be signed with Develop Nova Scotia.

All potential applicants should familiarize themselves with the below rules and regulations that Develop Nova Scotia will strictly enforce for businesses operating under this policy:

  • Only businesses proposing to use a vessel / vessels with a maximum capacity of 12 or less passengers are able to apply;
  • Vessels must be owner operated and or guided – no equipment or vessel rentals allowed;
  • 15 minutes alongside MAXIMUM;
  • Pick-Up Drop-Off only, no soliciting or ticket sales/infratsructure at the dock;
  • All spaces are shared among vessels with the “Blue Sticker”. Everyone with the “Blue Sticker” has the same rights;
  • The Blue Sticker must all times be prominently displayed on each vessel;
  • No overnight berthing at any of the locations;
  • No access to water or power at any of the locations; and
  • Successful applicants will be subject to the following fees, payable in full prior to receiving their “Blue Sticker”. A seasonal fee of either $25 per seated capacity of the vessel(s) proposed or $100 per month plus all applicable taxes, whichever is higher. Subject fees be prorated based on acceptance and season end dates. 

Develop Nova Scotia retains the right to revoke stickers, should any of the above rules and regulations not be followed. In case of a revoked sticker, the business will not be entitled to receive any refunds on the paid seasonal fee.

Questions related to this policy should be directed to the Develop Nova Scotia Marine Manager at

Click here for a PDF copy


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