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As of September 15, 2009 all operators of all ages must have their Pleasure Craft Operator Card (Boating License) to operate any type of pleasure craft equipped with a motor (even electric motor) , including personal watercrafts.

In addition to the requirement to carry a document serving as proof of competency, boat operators under the age of 16 must also comply with other requirements. Restrictions are imposed on the horsepower (hp) (or kilowatt (kW)) capacity of the motor of the boat they wish to operate.

  • Youth under the age of 12 with no direct supervision may only operate a boat with a motor of up to 10 hp/7.5 kW
  • Youth aged 12–15 with no direct supervision may only operate a boat with a motor of up to 40 hp/30 kW
  • Youth under the age of 16, regardless of supervision, may not operate a personal watercraft (PWC)

These restrictions do not apply in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Your Pleasure Craft Operator Card is good for life. Furthermore, there are no renewal fees and no annual fees. It will need to be replaced, with fees, only if lost or damaged.

If you’ve obtained your licence through Drive a Boat Canada, contact us and we’d be happy to issue you a new card!


If not, contact Transport Canada to receive a Replacement Card Authorization


No. The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations only apply to pleasure craft fitted with a motor.

Yes, you need proof of competency if the sailboat is fitted with an auxiliary motor, even when under sail.

The Regulations apply to non-residents if:

  • They operate their pleasure craft in Canadian waters for more than 44 consecutive days or,
  • They operate a pleasure craft that is licensed or registered in Canada (including rented or chartered boats).

The Regulations do not apply to non-residents who operate their pleasure craft (licensed in a country other than Canada) in Canadian waters for less than 45 consecutive days. Please note that a proof of residence will be required on board at all times.

If you require more information on how Canadian requirements apply to non-residents visit the Requirements for Foreign Recreational Boaters In Canadian Waters.

For non-residents, proof of competency can take one of three forms:

  1. A Pleasure Craft Operator Card;
  2. A completed boat rental safety checklist (for power-driven rental boats); or,
  3. An operator card or equivalent which meets the requirements of their state or country.
  • To improve the safety of all boaters and the boating environment.
  • To get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card as required by the regulation.
  • To learn about your responsibilities.
  • To make your boating experience enjoyable for everyone.

The course covers a full range of basic boating information such as:

  • minimum safety equipment requirements required on board your boat;
  • the Canadian Buoy system;
  • how to share waterways;
  • a review of all pertinent regulations;
  • and how to respond in an emergency situation.

Yes! The retries are unlimited. The test can be done only once in every 24-hour period.