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Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)
Whether you’re whether you’re looking for information about your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) (which is like a driver’s licence for boaters), or your boat licence (while is more like a licence plate) here are a few pointers on a couple of basic things that will help you get out on the water.
Your Your boat licence or “Pleasure Craft Licence” is a number (like a car licence plate) that is affixed to your boat that helps to identify your boat. Every boat needs this licence number and you can get yours easily by mailing the required forms and information (address and details are on the form). You can get your pleasure craft application kit online at www.boatingsafety.gc.ca, or at a Service Canada Centre. To find the nearest Service Canada Centre use this link or call 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232). Your boat dealer may also be able to help you with this process, so be sure to ask your dealer.
Your PCOC is like a driver’s licence and once you have your PCOC it’s yours for life. As of September 15, 2009 the PCOC is mandatory for anyone operating a pleasure craft with any type of motor, and the operator should be sure to have their original PCOC card “on board”. You may want to keep a copy of your PCOC back on land, so that if you ever lose your card, you can contact the original card-issuer to request a replacement card. There are a lot of options for your get your PCOC card and you can find a list by using this link to get to a current list of approved companies. You can take the test from any of these approved companies and once you pass, they will provide you with your PCOC.
The Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations include items like speed limits both posted and unposted, designated waters where boats are prohibited and waters where certain activities are restricted, among others. The regulations also outline age-horsepower restrictions. These restrictions prohibit those less than 16 years of age from operating craft above specified horsepower limits. If an operator is accompanied and directly supervised in the pleasure craft by someone 16 years of age or older, the age-horsepower restrictions do not apply. These restrictions also prohibit those less than 16 years or age from operating personal watercraft regardless of whether they are accompanied or not. This link gives you the detailed regulations.
There are a lot of options for your get your PCOC card, and there are different companies that charge different amounts for getting your PCOC, so it’s worthwhile to do a bit of research online to find the one that you are comfortable with. Once you have your PCOC it’s yours for life.
With regard to general safety regulations, the Office of Boating Safety provides a comprehensive listing of the equipment that is required on your boat. This equipment is different for different boat sizes and types and you can access the specifics using this link.
Good luck and safe boating.