Watercraft License in Canada, Three Steps to Get

watercraft license in Canada

Similar to owning and operating a car, making use of a boat will come with some paperwork and requirements you will need to fulfill first. Now, to establish your ownership over the vessel in question you will need to get a pleasure craft license. However, in order to operate it, you will have to get a watercraft license in Canada. If you are unsure about how to proceed with the latter, here we can provide you with a quick guide on how to get your own operator card to navigate Canadian waters.

Obtaining a Watercraft License in Canada

There are three steps in receiving a watercraft license in Canada.

  • The Safety Test – The first thing you will need to do is to take the official Transport Canada exam, which is known as the Canada Boating Safety Test (TCBS Test for short). You will have two attempts to pass the test and, should you fail the first attempt, you will have to wait twenty-four hours before the second one.
  • The Temporary License – Once you pass the Canada Boating Safety Test, you will be able to print the online course completion document, which can act as a temporary boating license in all Canadian provinces while you get the actual license.
  • The Operator Card – Between two to three weeks, you will be receiving your pleasure craft operator card in the mail. This permit will be recognized in all Canadian provinces, so don’t worry about where you are setting sail to.

Who Needs an Operator Card?

All motorized boat operators in Canada must have proof of competency to use the vessel, similar to how everyone needs a driver’s license to drive a car. In this case, it is officially known as an Operator Card, but more casually referred to as a boating license. Regardless of their age, the length of the boat, or the engine horsepower, motorized boat operators will always need this license prior to sailing in Canadian waters. If you are operating one of the specified watercraft without the corresponding watercraft license in Canada, you may be subjected to monetary fines and penalizations.

Transport Canada Requirements for Licenses

There are a few things you should keep in mind regarding the requirements to get a watercraft license in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen, you will have to complete a boater safety course and pass the aforementioned Transport Canada exam to the boat. However, if you are a non-resident boater, you can always use proof of certification from a boating course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in order to obtain the right permit and boat in Canadian waters. 

Pleasure Craft License

We’ve outlined everything you need in order to get your boating license, but you will also have to establish ownership over the pleasure craft and here at the National Vessel Registry Center Corp, we can provide you with all the necessary forms for you to do so. And, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling +1 (800) 419-9569 or emailing us at info@canadianvesselregistry.ca.