Your Pleasure Craft Operator's Card

Canadians continue to be confused by, or are lacking awareness of the requirements surrounding the Pleasure Craft Operator's Card to operate a powered vessel.  The Government calls this "proof of competency".  Currently, proof of competency is required to all those operating a vessel fitted with an engine. This has been in place since September 15th, 2009.

Are there any age/horsepower restrictions?

YES! There are age/horsepower restrictions that prohibit operators under the age of 16 from operating recreational vessels above specified horsepower limits:
  • Children under the age of 12 and not directly supervised by someone 16 years of age or older can operate a recreational vessel with no more than 10 hp.
  • Youth between 12 years of age and under 16 years of age and not directly supervised by someone 16 years of age or older, can operate a recreational vessel with no more than 40 hp.
  • Only persons 16 years of age or older can operate a personal watercraft (PWC) regardless of supervision.
These restrictions apply to all operators of pleasure craft in Canadian waters.

Are there any new amendments?

Yes, actually.  Transport Canada recently amended the Pleasure Craft Operator Card course provider and examination regulations.  People are no longer allowed to take the test in an unsupervised location.  As of January 1, 2008 all online tests must be taken in a regulated facility that is supervised by an approved proctor.

Recently, some course providers have had their accreditation revoked.  Check the Transport Canada web site for a listing of accredited providers.

What happens if I operate a pleasure craft without a card?

Anyone operating a boat fitted with an engine in Canada without a Pleasure Craft Operator Card after September 15, 2009 could be fined $250.

How do I replace my lost Pleasure Craft Operator Card?

While Transport Canada administers the regulations - all cards are issued by private sector organizations referred to as "course providers". To arrange a card replacement you must first contact the accredited course provider that originally issued the card.  Secondly, if you can't remember the name of the course provider that originally issued your card, here are a few things to do to help you remember:

  • Did you take the test with a family member or friend? If so, check with them as the name of the course provider will be on their card.
  • Did you keep a copy of your receipt or the letter that came in the mail with your card attached to it? The course provider's name is included on both of these documents.
  • Most importantly, Transport Canada recommends that all boaters make a copy of their card upon receiving it.  This will eliminate doing any research in order to get a replacement card.  This method is the simplest and most effective way to get your card replaced.
  • If you took your test at Buckeye you can click here for a list of possible providers and the links to have your card replaced.

There are complete and detailed answers to every question regarding Pleasure Craft Operator's Cards on the
Transport Canada, Office of Boating Safety web site.

Another useful website is: Smart Boater Canada