Have you ever had a moment of panic looking for your boating license while on the water? You have good reason—your license is a vital piece of documentation to have whenever you operate a boat on Canadian waters.
Find out exactly what the licensing requirements are for recreational boating in Ontario and the rest of Canada, how to replace a lost card and how to get spares so that you’ll never be caught unawares!
Everyone who operates a power-driven vessel for recreational purposes in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada needs to have proof of competency, i.e., a document that shows that they are familiar with the basic rules of boating in Canada and know how to operate a boat safely.
Proof of competency is required to operate any boat that is fitted with a motor, even if the motor is turned off and another means of propulsion is being used. It’s important to have your proof of competency with you at all times when operating a motorized boat—otherwise, you could face a $250 fine.
The most common proof of competency in Ontario is a boating license, officially known as the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You can obtain your card by taking a safety course offered by an accredited course provider and passing a boating exam online or in person.
The course covers all of the basic information boaters need, including the safety equipment required aboard boats in Ontario, how to recognize marine buoys and share the waterways, a review of Canadian boating regulations and how to respond in the event of an emergency.
Once you obtain your official Pleasure Craft Operator Card, it’s good for life.
While it’s great that your boating license is good for life, it’s all too easy to lose your card during the course of your nautical adventures. Fortunately, there are several ways to replace a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, and you can even purchase spares pre-emptively if you want to be extra prepared.
The main way to replace a lost or damaged Pleasure Craft Operator Card is to contact the course provider who issued it. They will be able to provide you with a replacement for a small fee. Note that only course providers that are currently accredited by Transport Canada are permitted to issue replacement cards.
If your original course provider is suspended, no longer in business or you cannot remember its name, you can contact Transport Canada for help. If you call the Boating Safety Infoline at 1-800-267-6687, an agent will look up your name in the national database of card holders and give you further instructions.
Given how important it is to have your Ontario boating license with you at all times while operating a boat, it’s worth having spares in case you lose or forget one. If you have several cards, you can keep one in each of your boats, your tackle box and even your car!
The National Boating Safety School can replace any official Canadian boating license and issue extra cards for a reasonable fee. There are prices per card and advantageous discounts for getting multiple cards at once. Contact us today to obtain your proof of competency!