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Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Card

When do I need to get a card?


The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations require operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor and used for recreational purposes to have proof of competency on board at all times. These requirements are being phased in over ten years (see table).

How this applies to operators** of pleasure craft fitted with a motor and used for recreational purposesDate at which proof of competency required on board
All operators born after April 1, 1983September 15, 1999
All operators of craft under 4 m in length, including personal watercraftSeptember 15, 2002
All operatorsSeptember 15, 2009

* These requirements apply in areas outside the Northwest and Nunavut Territories at this time.

** Applies to non-residents of Canada and whose pleasure craft is in Canada more than 45 consecutive days. Operator card or equivalent issued to a non-resident by their state or country will be considered as proof of competency.

Tip: Certificates for boating safety courses completed before April 1, 1999 will be recognized. If you´ve already taken a course prior to these regulations - and have proof - then that course certificate or card will be accepted as proof of competency!

Proof of competency can take 1 of 3 forms:

    * proof of having successfully completed a boating safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999;
    * a pleasure craft operator card issued following the successful completion of a Canadian Coast Guard accredited test;
    * a completed rental-boat safety checklist (for power-driven rental boats).

The operator card is good-for-life.

How do I get a card?

Boaters can obtain their card after receiving a mark of at least 75% on a Canadian Coast Guard accredited test. Boaters have the option of taking this test without first completing a course.  Accredited tests are offered by each accredited course provider.  

Why take a boating safety course?

  • To improve the safety of all boaters and the boating environment.
  • To get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card as required by the regulation.
  • To learn about your responsibility
  • To make your boating experience enjoyable for everyone.

What is covered during a course?

The course covers a full range of basic boating information such as:
  • minimum safety equipment requirements required on board your boat
  • the Canadian Buoy system
  • how to share waterways
  • a review of all pertinent regulations
  • and how to respond in an emergency situation
GCAC/CCGA
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