Family Boating: Getting Your Canadian Boating License

According to a federal law passed in 1999, all Canadians are required to carry a boating license or a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) when operating a powered watercraft. Not carrying your PCOC can result in a fine. To receive your PCOC, you need to pass a multiple-choice exam with a score of at least 75%.

There is no age limit to take the online boating course and get your boating license. However, there are certain age and operator restrictions that apply to the following people.

  • A person under 12 years of age, not directly supervised by someone 16 years or older, is not allowed to operate a watercraft of more than 10hp (7.5kW).
  • A person between 12 to 16 years of age, not directly supervised by someone 16 years or older, is not allowed to operate a watercraft of more than 40hp (30kW).
  • Only a person of 16 years or older are allowed to operate a personal watercraft unsupervised.

How to apply for a boating license and take my boating license exam?

There are a lot of online boating courses like Aceboater that offer a boating license. These programs provide all the required safe boating training material for you to study. After going through all the study material, you can take a boating practice test and test yourself if you are ready to take a boating license exam or not.

How long will it take me to get my Pleasure Craft Operator Card?

Most online courses & tests take at most 3 hours to complete. As soon as you have passed the test, you can print your Temporary Card and use it until the Permanent Card arrives, which usually takes up to 4 weeks.

Will by boating license work in every province?

The best thing about getting a PCOC in Canada is that you don’t have to give different exams for different provinces. The PCOC is valid in each province; Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, British Colombia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland & Labrador (NFLD).

What are the laws regarding boating and drinking?

There are hefty fines and penalties for people driving under the influence of alcohol in Canada. Boating while drunk is an offense under the Criminal Code of Canada and they are liable to the following fines:

  • 1st offense: Up to $1,000 fine
  • 2nd offense: at least 30 days in prison
  • 3rd offense: at least 120 days in prison

However, you are allowed to consume alcohol on board if the boat meets the required conditions of permanent sleeping, cooking, toilet, and anchor facilities.

Boating Associated Fines

Along with a fine of $250 for not having the required PCOC on board, these are the other common boating offenses and their associated penalties:

  • Allowing an underage to operate a boat ($250)
  • Towing someone without a spotter ($250)
  • Not having lifejackets ($200)
  • Careless Operation ($200-350)
  • Traveling over 10km/h within 30meters offshore ($125-$500 or up to 6 months in prison)
  • Over-Speeding ($100)

For more great family tips, check out the other blogs on Cyber Parent.

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