FAQ - Boating license accredited by Transport Canada

You'll find on this page the most frequent questions asked about the National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program. It could be questions about the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), the course and/or the exam to obtain it, or questions about the required safety equipment.

Questions about the boating license (PCOC)

Questions about the Canadian Boating Safety Course 

Questions about the Official Transport Canada Boater Exam

Questions about Boating Safety Equipment

Boat safety equipment Canada

Who needs a boating license in Canada?

All operators of powered recreational watercrafts used on Canadian waters must have proof of competency like the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). The PCOC is mandatory, regardless of age, length of boat or engine horsepower.

Successfully completing our course means that you are certified in all the Canadian provinces and territories including: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories.

How do I get a boat license in Canada?

You can get the card by taking a boating safety course online, and passing the final exam at the end of the course. Training and testing for this card is only available through a Transport Canada accredited course provider such as Aceboater.com.

What are the steps to get your boater license?

To obtain a boating safety card, you must pass an accredited course. The first step is to follow the mandatory online study for a minimum of 3 hours, and then pass the Transport Canada test.

How much does it cost to get an online boating license?

It's $ 59.95 + taxes for the online course, the final test and the card which is valid for life.

How do I replace my Pleasure Craft Operator Card if I lost it? 

You can contact us at 1-800-607-2329 for a replacement card or email us at info@aceboater.com to see if you obtained the card through our school.

Or if you are sure that you wrote the exam or obtained your card through Aceboater.com, you can order it online by filling out the form.

How big of a boat can I drive with a Canadian boating license?

There is no maximum boat length. The card is good for all pleasure crafts with a motor.

Do I need a boat license to operate a boat with an electric motor?

Yes. All boaters must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card to operate any powered watercraft. This law applies to all boaters, there are no exemptions. "Powered watercraft" means a watercraft fitted with any size motor, even an electric trolling motor.

Does a boater license expire?

No, your Pleasure Craft Operator Card is valid for life and never needs to be renewed.

How do I change the address on my PCOC?

You can phone us at 1-800-607-2329 or email us at info@aceboater.com to make the change.

Do I need it to operate a non-powered pleasure craft?

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

Do I need proof of competency to paddle a pleasure craft fitted with a motor and the motor is turned off?


Do I need to take an exam to obtain my pleasure craft card?

Yes. Following the completion of the course you must complete the official Transport Canada final exam to obtain your card.

Do I need proof of competency to operate a sailboat?

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

Do the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations apply to non-residents?

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.

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

  • A Canadian-issued pleasure craft operator card.

  • A completed boat rental safety check-list (for power-driven rental boats).

  • An operator card or equivalent that meets the requirements of their state or country.



Must I take a course before I write the test?

No. While we strongly recommend everyone to take a boating safety course, you may challenge the test without taking a course.

Important Note: You cannot challenge the boating safety test online. You must arrange to write the test in-person and under the direct supervision of a Transport Canada accredited course provider.

Why take a boating safety course?

  • 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 responsibility.

  • To make your boating experience enjoyable for everyone.

How much is a boat safety course in Canada?

The online course is $ 59.95 and may be completed using a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device. 

How long does the Canada boating course take?

The boating safety course takes about 4 hours to complete. It's a mandatory 3 hour course + the final exam at the end.

How many chapters is in the Canadian boat course?

The Canadian boat course includes 6 chapters that are easy to read and understand. 

What is covered in a boating safety course?

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.

I took a boater course in the US and have a dated certificate. Is it an acceptable proof of competency?

No. If you are a Canadian resident, the course must be taken in Canada.

How many questions are on the Canadian boater exam?

The Canadian boater exam is a 50-question test.

What is the passing grade of the boating exam?

You must score at least 75% on the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test to pass.

Do I have to get it right the first time?

You have two attempts to pass. If you do not pass on your first try, you may retake the test after 24 hours.

What is the type of question asked?

All of them are multiple choice questions. 

What is the minimum age for kids to write the boaters exam?

There is no minimum age. As long as children can read and understand the exam, they are allowed to write it. 



Is there a practice test to see what kind of questions I could find in the final boat exam?

Yes. Here's the link to a 50-question practice exam.

Practice makes perfect
Step 1


  • Register and do Chapter one for free.
  • Pay only $ 59.95 (online course, final test and the card included).
  • Complete an easy-to-read study guide.
Step 2


  • Transport Canada's official final test.
  • Free tests retries - Risk free.
  • Open-book final test.
Step 3


  • Print your temporary card immediately and start boating now! It is valid for 60 days.
  • Your official Pleasure Craft Operator Card will be mailed within 30 days.
  • The card is good for life.
Try for free