Proof of Competency

The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations describes the requirement for a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, age requirements, the authorization of accredited boat safety courses, and associated regulations concerning safe boating initiatives.

The above regulations require that the operator of a pleasure craft fitted with a motor in Canadian waters have proof of competency on board.     The regulations do not apply to pleasure craft operated in the waters of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Young people under 16 years of age must also comply with the age/horsepower restrictions specified in the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations unless directly supervised by a person 16 years of age or older.

Note that a young person (under 16) must always carry recognized proof of competency while operating a power driven vessel of any horsepower, whether directly supervised or not.

Proof of Competency can be one of the following.

  • a Pleasure Craft Operator Card   (original should be carried on board).
  • proof that you have successfully completed a Boating Safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999.
  • a completed rental boat safety checklist.   (see detail below)
  • If you hold a certificate on Transport Canada's List of Marine Certificates Recognized for the Issuance of a Pleasure Craft Operator Card you need only carry the certificate or a copy.   See the list at www.boatingsafety.gc.ca .

A person who is not a resident of Canada is competent to operate a pleasure craft if the person

  • has proof of competency as indicated above   or,
  • has been issued a certificate or other similar document by the personís state or country of residence attesting that the person has acquired the boating safety knowledge required by the state or country.


A person who makes a pleasure craft available for rent must include, in a rental boat safety checklist, a statement that they have given to the persons who will operate the pleasure craft information pertaining to

  • the operation of the pleasure craft;
  • the principal boating safety rules; and
  • the geographic features and hazards in the area in which the pleasure craft will be operated.