A Guide on Canada's Pleasure Craft Operator Card

By Adriana Noton

Boating is a popular past time in Canada for both residents and visitors to Canada. To be able to operate a motorized pleasure craft in Canada, you are required to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations mandates that boaters in Canada operating a power-driven recreational watercraft must have proof of competency. Getting a Pleasure Craft Operator's Card is similar to getting a driver's license as it is proof of competency to operate a power-driven pleasure craft.

The Federal Government's Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations applies to any watercraft that has a motor and the watercraft is used for recreational activities. The Pleasure Craft Operator Card is good for the recipient's life. The recipient of the card cannot transfer it to another person.

To receive a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, you have to pass a Transport Canada accredited test. Transport Canada approved private organizations across the country offer the test. The exam is designed to make sure boaters are knowledgeable about boating safety and boating regulations. Courses are designed prepare for the test and teach people how to be responsible boaters. The course is highly recommended before taking the test to get the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. The course covers a number of boating in Canada areas such as: proper waterway sharing, Canada's Buoy system, important watercraft rules, type of safety equipment needed, and what action to take if a boater has an emergency.

For people who want to take the boating course, they have the option of taking it by correspondence, in a classroom, or on the internet. You also have the option of purchasing a training manual from an accredited private training organization to study and then take the test. If you fail to pass the exam the first time, you can take it again at no additional cost. There is a fee and it is paid to the private organization.

If your boat is less than 4 m in length and you are born after April 1, 1983, you must have Proof of Competency. Canadians who have taken a boating safety course prior to April 1, 1999 do not have to complete another course or test. However, they have to keep a copy of the boating license that was issued on board the watercraft at all times. The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations applies to non-Canadian residents if they operate a power-driven watercraft for more than 44 consecutive days. The regulations also apply if boaters operate a recreational motorized watercraft that is registered or licensed in Canada.

Visitors to Canada and Canadian residents enjoy boating on Canadian waters. To help prevent any problems when out on the water, it is essential that you have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You will have a much more enjoyable time if you take the Pleasure Craft course as you will understand all of the rules regarding boating on Canadian waters and you will not be fined for not having your Pleasure Craft Operator Card.

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