Boating Laws in Canada

By Adriana Noton

When it comes to boating in Canada, boaters of power-driven watercraft must comply with Canadian regulations. On September 15, 2009, the Canadian Government enacted the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations which mandate that boaters in Canada operating recreational watercraft equipped with a motor must have proof of competency. Boaters in Canada must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card on the boat or they can get a substantial fine.

Getting proof of competency in the form of the Pleasure Craft Operator Card is not difficult. You obtain this card from a private organization accredited by Transport Canada. In addition, there are many accredited private organizations across the country offering Canada boating courses to assist people with preparation for writing the boating exam. The boating exam consists of 36 multiple choice questions where one has to have a passing grade of 75%. The test covers all of the topics covered in the boating course such as: handling a boating emergency, operating a boat properly and safely, and terminology used in boating. They also offer the actual boating exam after the course is finished.

There are certain criteria that must be met to get a Pleasure Craft Operator card. In Canada, if you are born after April 1, 1983, you must obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Also, people operating motor recreational watercraft that is less than 4 meters in length must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You do not have to take the boating course in a classroom as you can take it online or by correspondence. You can also buy the boating test manual and study at home to take the test; however, it is recommended that you take the boating course. Also, if you take the test online, you are required to have a test supervisor as a way of preventing cheating. After you have taken the boating test and have passed it, you will be mailed your Pleasure Craft Operator Card. This card is good for life and is non transferable. You have to carry the card with you when you are out on your boat.

When it comes to foreign visitors to Canada, they will not have to have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card if their stay is less than 45 days. If their stay is more than 45 days, they will have to get the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Boat Operator cards issued by another country is considered as proof of competency that the person can operate a motor recreational watercraft properly.

Boating laws cover all provinces in Canada and were created to improve boater safety, ensure boaters can operate a power-driven boat properly and follow the rules, as well as decrease the number of boating accidents, Canada's boating license must be followed or a boater can face a fine. Before taking your power-driven pleasure watercraft on Canada's water, make sure you have proof of competency like the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You will become a superb boater and you will not have to worry about getting a fine for not having proof of competency to operate a power driven boat.

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