All motorized boat operators in Canada must have a boating license, a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, issued by Transport Canada, as proof of their competency, regardless of age, length of the boat, or engine horsepower. Operating without a said license can result in a fine. When you work a boat with a motor, you must have a permit, even if you are not using the engine, i.e. sailing.
You are exempt from this requirement if you visit Canada for less than 45 days or operate a motorized boat in Nanavut or the Northwest Territories.
The best way to obtain a boating license is to do a training course with an authorized course provider. You will learn the necessary information and gain practical skills to help you stay safe on the water. You can study at both online from home or in a classroom with an instructor. The course by an authorized provider covers all the necessary content for the exam and a little extra for your safety.
You can complete the training in a matter of days, at your own pace. The minimum time required to do the course is three hours of connection to the online platform. You can log in and out, and you do not need to do the whole system in one sitting. You can expect your training course to include quizzes that will help you prepare for the exam question format, to ensure you pass the test.
When you complete the course, you will be redirected to the Transport Canada PCOC Test.
The completion of the training course does not authorize you to operate a boat; therefore, there is usually no certificate of completion of the system only. When you finish the training course, you have 30 days to do the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test covering all the course material.
The Transport Canada Boating Safety Test is an online test. The test has 50 questions and lasts 75 minutes. The questions are multiple-choice, and the test is an open-book exam. This means you can consult your study guide while you are answering the exam questions.
It is highly advisable to take the test in one session, without interruptions. You will see the countdown timer at all times, and you will not be penalized for any technical issues such as slow internet; the timer will stop while the questions are uploading.
You must score at least 75% to pass the test (38 questions out of 50). When the time is up, all unanswered questions will be counted as wrong. Points will be given for correct answers and will not be taken away for incorrect answers. Your results will show immediately on your screen, and you do not need to wait.
You are given two attempts to pass the test. If you fail for the first time, your second attempt can be used between 24 hours and 30 days after the first one. If you fail the second time, you will be required to do the training course again. You can retry your exam as many times as you need, retries are free.
When you pass the test successfully and pay the license fee, you will be issued a temporary boating license that allows you to operate a boat. You can print this license out and use it immediately. Your permanent consent will be sent to you by mail; it usually arrives within two to six weeks. Your Pleasure Craft Operator Card does not expire and is valid in Canada and most USA states.
The licensing for boating in Canada is obligatory to make Canada’s waterways safe for everyone. Please adhere to all the requirements, and you will obtain your license quickly.