How to Get a Boat Operator License in Canada

Boat Operator License

Are you looking for a new adventure? Are you eager for new ways to enjoy the warm summer months in Canada? Well, if so, boat ownership may be just the ticket for you. When you buy a boat, you suddenly have a wealth of freedom sitting in front of you. Home to hundreds of thousands of lakes and nearly endless coastlines, Canada is a true boating paradise. If you are ready to commit to buying a boat, though, there are a few things you will need to do first. To get started, you will need to figure out the type of vessel that is right for you. This can mean researching and getting to know the various types of boats on the market. If you are looking for something that is motorized, be it a fishing boat, speed boat, or some other model, you will also need to learn how to safely operate such a vessel. In this scenario, you are going to want to understand how to get a boat operator license in Canada. Fortunately, at the National Vessel Registry Center, we can help.

While owning a boat can provide countless hours of leisure, it also comes with quite a bit of responsibility. You owe it to yourself, your passengers, and the other boaters on the water to know how to safely operate a motorized vessel. The best way to do this is to take a Transport Canada-approved educational course and then pass the required exam. When you do this, you will be issued a boat operator license, which is also called a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC). Your PCOC, while a great starting point in the documentation process, may not be the end of your journey. Read on to learn more.

What Can You Do with a Boat Operator License in Canada?

Once you get your PCOC, you are well on your way to making the most out of your new boat. You will be able to take your boat out solo, or with your friends and family on any Canadian lake of your choosing. Depending on the type of boat you have, however, you may need to fill out some additional Transport Canada paperwork. For most recreational vessels, this takes the form of a boat license, also called a pleasure craft license (PCL). PCLs are mandatory for any boat with an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more, and once issued they are valid for a period of 10 years. 

Commercial boats, vessels sailing abroad under the Canadian flag, and boats that are financed with marine mortgages will require vessel registration. Vessel registration certificates are good for a period of three years. Even if it is not required for your vessel to obtain a PCL or vessel registration, you can still get them, if you so choose.

Boat Operator License

Finding Forms Online

No matter what type of Transport Canada documentation you need, we can help. Take a minute to explore our navigation menu to see for yourself. You can also check out our helpful Frequently Asked Questions page.