Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions about all aspects of Canadian safe boating laws and regulations. If you have a question you would like to see added to this list, send an e-mail to [email protected] with your question.
Pleasure Craft Operator Card
Q. How long will it take for the Card to arrive after I’ve passed the exam?
A. Your permanent Pleasure Craft Operator Card will take between 3-5 weeks to arrive. A Temporary Operator Card can be printed and used while you wait for the permanent card to arrive.
Q. Is there a temporary card I can print while I wait for my permanent Card?
A. Yes! You may print off a Temporary Pleasure Craft Operator Card immediately following your successful exam. If for whatever reason you need to print another copy of your temporary card, you may access the card again by following the Temporary Card link from our homepage. Please note that your Temporary Pleasure Craft Operator Card expires 60 days following your exam.
Q. What if I lose my operator card?
A. If you lose your Pleasure Craft Operator Card, and you took your exam online with BOATERexam.com®, then you may order a replacement card by clicking on the LOST CARDS menu item. If you did not take your exam online with BOATERexam.com®, but you have proof that you passed an approved safe boating course, then please call our office at 1-866-688-2628 to order another card.
Q. Is the card good for life?
A. Yes. The Pleasure Craft Operator Card is good for life with no annual fees.
Q. What does the card look like?
A. The Pleasure Craft Operator Card is a "credit card" style plastic card. Here is an image of the card.
Q. How do I get the Pleasure Craft Operator Card?
The steps to get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card online are as follows:
Step 1: Study the Online Course
- Pay $49.95 + tax to complete the course
- 80% pass mark is required for chapter quizzes, in order to advance
- 3 hours of study time is required
- Must be completed within 1 year
Step 2: Take the Final Exam
- Take the 50 question multiple-choice exam, 75% is required to pass
- The boater exams™ are timed: 1 hour and 15 minutes total.
- This is an open book exam
- If you fail, you may attempt the exam again for free after 24 hours
- If you fail a second time, you will need to take the online course again (FREE)
Step 3: Get the Card!
- Print your temp card immediately
- Permanent card is mailed to you in 3-5 weeks
- Go boating immediately, the card is good for life across Canada and never expires
Q. Where can I boat with the Pleasure Craft Operator Card?
A. The Pleasure Craft Operator Card allows Canadian and US citizens to operate their watercrafts throughout Canada and the United States. For residents of the United States, the Pleasure Craft Operator Card acts as an out-of-state boater education card when operating their watercraft in any State except for their home State. (Example: The Pleasure Craft Operator Card would allow a Florida resident to operate their watercraft in Oregon waters, but they would still require a Florida Boater Education card to operate their watercraft in Florida.)
Q. Will boaters who have previously taken a boating safety course be required to take another course or test?
A. Those who have taken a recognized boating safety course prior to April 1, 1999 may not be required to take another course or test. The original certificate or card issued at the completion of the course will need to be carried on board the pleasure craft.
Q. Do I need proof of competency to operate a non-powered pleasure craft?
A. No. The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations only apply to pleasure craft fitted with a motor.
Q. Do I need proof of competency to paddle a pleasure craft fitted with a motor and the motor is turned off?
Q. What is acceptable proof of competency for non-residents?
A. For non-residents, proof of competency can take one of three forms:
- A Pleasure Craft Operator Card;
- A completed boat rental safety checklist (for power-driven rental boats); or,
- An operator card or equivalent which meets the requirements of their state or country.
Q. If my child is 11 years old and drives a boat of less than 10 HP (with my direct supervision) do they still need proof of competency?
A. Yes. The age-horsepower restrictions were developed under the Boating Restriction Regulations and aren't affected, or superseded, by the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations. The two are entirely separate regulations and their respective requirements should be looked at separately to avoid confusion. Remember, anyone born after April 01, 1983 is required to carry proof of competency now.
Q. What is "proof of operator competency"?
A. Proof of operator competency can take one of three forms:
- A Pleasure Craft Operator Card;
- Proof of having successfully completed a boating safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999; or,
- A completed rental-boat safety checklist.
A Pleasure Craft Operator Card is issued following the successful completion of an approved test. This proof of competency is the most common.
If you have taken a boating safety course prior to April 1, 1999, the certificate you obtained is a valid proof of operator competency. However, the certificate must clearly show that the course you took was taken in Canada and prior to April 1, 1999.
If you are renting a pleasure craft fitted with a motor you must complete a rental boat safety checklist. This will be considered your proof of competency and is valid for the duration of the rental period. The rental company will review the checklist with you.
Q. What should I do if I received training prior to April 1, 1999 and my certificate does not show a completion date?
A. If the course provider that issued the certificate is still in existence, you can contact them to issue you a certificate showing the appropriate completion date. Otherwise, you will need to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
Q. Can I exchange my certificate for a Pleasure Craft Operator Card?
A. No. The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations clearly state that a Pleasure Craft Operator Card is a document issued to a person by the administrator of an approved test (see exception below), to a person that has passed the test. Therefore, a card cannot be issued unless an approved test has been passed.
Q. Can I obtain a PCOC if I hold a Marine Safety Certificate?
A. Any person who holds a certificate or equivalency on the List of Certificates of Competency, Training Certificates and other Equivalencies is competent to operate a pleasure craft under the Competency of Pleasure Craft Regulations. A person holding such a certificate or equivalency simply needs to carry their certificate or equivalency (or a copy of it) on board their pleasure craft, accompanied by a proof of identification.
You also have the option to send us a copy of your certificate of competency and we can issue you a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, which is easier to carry and to get replacements. Please email [email protected] for more information.
Q. I took a boating safety course in the United States in 1980 and have a dated certificate. Is it an acceptable proof of competency?
A. No. The course must be taken in Canada.
Q. Do I need a licence to operate my boat?
A. Sometimes proof of competency is confused with the pleasure craft licence. The two are not the same. The PCOC shows that the operator has a basic level of boating safety knowledge and a good understanding of the “rules of the road” for Canadian waterways. The pleasure craft licence provides a unique identification number commonly referred to as the "licence number". A licence is mandatory for all pleasure craft equipped with motors of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more, including personal watercraft. The pleasure craft is not required to be licensed if it is registered.
In most instances what people actually want to know about is the requirement to carry proof of competency, as required under the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations.
All operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor are now required to have proof of competency on board.
Q. Isn't an operator card just another word for a licence?
A. No, unlike a driver's licence, the operator card cannot be revoked and is good for life.