Did you know that in Canada, you must get a pleasure craft license to operate a boat? It’s accurate! You need to get a license to use the pond for any purpose, even just paddling about in your kayak for a short while. To those who have never heard of it, the pleasure craft license is similar to a bigger life jacket in that it communicates to everyone around you that you take boating safety extremely seriously. You may apply for the license and the certificate that goes along with it at the National Vessel Registry Center. The license falls into one of many classes determined by the length of your boat and its horsepower. When you go out on the lake, you must always have one with you for the following reasons:
A Pleasure Craft License Shows That You’re a Responsible Boater
It’s easy to dismiss the need for a pleasure craft license if you don’t plan on using your boat in any way other than for recreational purposes. But there are a few scenarios in which obtaining one in Canada might be beneficial. Since boating licenses are governed at the state level, their requirements and prices vary from state to state. However, there are some consistent trends. Boat registration offices also sell boating permits.
If you need a license immediately (for a higher charge), or you are purchasing a new boat (fishing boats cost more than kayaks), or purchasing a replacement license, the price will vary (there is an additional fee for expedited service). In certain provinces, for example, the penalty for operating a boat without a license is far higher than the penalty for other offenses listed on a driver’s license. Having a pleasure craft license demonstrates your commitment to safe and responsible boating. More recreational boating options are available to you both locally and throughout Canada.
It Can Help You Avoid Fines and Tickets
In Canada, having the privilege of operating a watercraft such as a boat or a kayak is considered a significant accomplishment. Before you may operate any boats listed above on any body of water longer than 20 meters in length in the province of Ontario, you must obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). The province issues this document. If you are found without one or fail to have this card, you may be subject to penalties and citations from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
These fines and tickets may vary anywhere from $25 to $3,000 and may even lead to extra charges if you are caught. The most severe infractions might even result in losing your Personal Boating Operator’s Certificate (PCOC). This means that you won’t be allowed to operate your watercraft until you obtain your PCOC back, which requires you to pay a fee and finish a unique course on safe boating procedures.
It Can Make It Easier For You to Rent Or Borrow Boats In The Future
Although obtaining a pleasure craft license in Canada may not seem like a big problem, it is something to keep in mind if you plan on borrowing or renting a boat. Boat rentals and borrowing are restricted to those who possess valid boating permits. This may not seem like a huge concern at first. Still, boat rentals on many of Canada’s most prominent lakes and rivers are only available to those with a valid license. Even then, the price is often approximately twice for those who do not have a license. Just try to fathom how enjoyable that would be!
You and your friends would be wasting money by spending twice as much to visit these stunning locations, and you would miss a lot of fun. In addition, being able to hire or borrow boats in the future is simplified by possessing a valid license to operate pleasure vessels. Many businesses will first ask for your credit card information if you want to hire a boat. If they don’t have any boats available since everyone else has been using them for months, then you’re out of luck.
Law requires it, So You Might As Well Get It Done!
Having a pleasure craft license (PCOC, or Pleasure Craft Operator Card) is not only mandatory in Canada if you own a boat but also highly recommended for several reasons. Aside from the fact that it’s the law, there’s the added benefit of increased safety when out on the water. You’ll need a PCOC to go boating here, even if you never leave the lakes near your hometown. Make an appointment at the Transport Canada office near you, or apply for your PCOC online via the National Vessel Registry Center. Proof of identification and citizenship (such as a driver’s license) and prior sailing experience may be required (like a boating license or previous boating certificate). You’ll then be required to take a written exam on maritime safety topics. Your card will be issued once you pass the exam.
To begin registering your vessel with the National Vessel Registry Center, call us at +1 (800) 419-9569. A friendly and knowledgeable representative will assist you through this process. We can also answer any questions you have about pleasure craft registration.