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PCO Card Deadline Looms for Canadian Boaters

Canwest News Service

OTTAWA — Canadian boaters who have yet to receive certification to operate motorized watercraft have just two weeks left to get book smart or risk getting slapped with a fine.

As of Sept. 15, Pleasure Craft Operator Cards are required to use motorized boats or personal watercraft. Those caught on the water without proper certification can receive a $250 fine.

An estimated 10 million boaters still operate without the boater's card, but many are flocking to the certification website — — to get the proper documents before the deadline passes.

The exam consists of 36 multiple choice questions and boaters must correctly answer 75 per cent of the questions to receive their Operator's Card. The certification is good for life.

There is no age limit or exemption to require the card, but there are some restrictions placed on boaters under 16 years of age and the power of the watercraft they use.

A spokesman for the website said getting certified early will likely ease the burden on boaters because changes to the process and the fine structure are possible in the future.

"We are encouraging boaters to get certified now so they are legal, but also so they avoid paying more in the future as the price will likely increase," Robert Dupel said in a news release. "There's also a good chance the exam becomes more complicated."

The test, which also has a French version available at®, is approved by Transport Canada.

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