Monday, March 28th, 2011
by Brent McNamee
Important Changes To Boating License Laws In Canada
To Improve Boating Safety
Some of you may have already heard that Transport
Canada has made some fundamental changes to the boating exam process needed to acquire
a boating license in Canada. These changes have been implemented in order to improve
safety for all boaters, and make the boating experience more enjoyable for everyone.
Providing access to the latest boating safety information these more defined boating
guidelines will help recreational boaters become more responsible and knowledgeable
about boating safety.
New boating enthusiasts might not know how this will affect them so here's rundown
of all the upcoming changes.
Effective April 15, 2011 boaters of all ages (there are no age exemptions or minimum
ages to get certified) operating a motorized pleasure craft (this includes any watercraft
with a motor, be it a sailboat fitted with an auxiliary motor, or even an electric
motor on a canoe) need to hold a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) (i.e. a boating
In order to acquire the license, candidates must first pass a mandatory 5 chapter
online course and receive a minimum grade of 80% on each quiz found at the end of
every chapter. Once completed, they must pass the open-book online PCOC test comprised
of 50 questions and receive a minimum grade of 75%.
Those who have taken a boating safety course prior to April 1, 1999 will not be
required to take another course or test. However, a copy of a certificate or a card
issued at the completion of courses taken prior to April 1, 1999 will need to be
carried on board the pleasure craft.
Online Study Guide Requirements
Beginning April 15, 2011, if a person wants to take the online boating safety test,
they must first complete the Study Guide, which is available online.
The Online Study Guide comprises a minimum of 5 chapters which cover the basics
of boating safety, regulations and accepted best practices. At the end of each chapter,
the candidate tests their knowledge by taking a chapter review quiz. There is a
minimum of 10 practice questions per chapter. They are graded automatically and
given their score online. If they receive a grade of over 80%, they can move on
to the next chapter.
- The total amount of time required to complete the Online Study Guide must be no
less than three (3) hours and each chapter has a minimum set time limit
- A candidate may complete the Online Study Guide one chapter at a time at their own
pace, over a period of up to one (1) year
- Once a candidate has successfully passed a chapter review quiz, he or she can return
to the content page for that chapter at any time with no time requirements
- Once the Study Guide has been completed, candidates will be able to access the online
PCOC Test website and complete their official test
Online PCOC Test
Once the Study Guide is complete, candidates will be provided a link to the Transport
Canada Marine Safety's (TCMS) online test website. Every test is unique with 50
randomly generated questions drawn from the TCMS bank of boating safety questions.
The test is open-book and can be completed from the candidate's private residence.
(Prior to this, a Supervisor was required for the exam.)
- A passing grade is 75% and candidates will automatically receive their test scores
- A candidate may only take one (1) Online PCOC test per day (24 hours)
- If the candidate fails the test twice, TCMS will email the Course Provider and the
candidate will be required to start the entire Online Study Guide again from the
beginning — with the time requirements in place.
After Passing The PCOC Test
Following the test, TCMS will send an email to the candidate that will allow them
to print a temporary Operator Card directly from their website. The temporary PCOC
expires when candidates receive their permanent PCOC, or, no later than 60 days
after the date they passed the test.
For any additional information please refer to the TCMS FAQ list