Who needs a recreational boat license in British Columbia?
All operators of a motorized recreational watercraft used on Canadian waters must show proof of competency like the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). Transport Canada requires a minimum 3 hours of study before you can take the final online exam.
How to get a boat license in BC?
Take our official boating course
Our 6-chapter online bc boating course is the leading platform to obtain your Transport Canada boating license.
Boating safety course introduction
- Most common causes of on-water incidents
- Boating terminology
- Laws and regulations
Rules and Obligations
- Registration and pleasure craft license
- Rules and obligations
- Criminal offences
Required Safety Equipment
- Personal protection equipment
- Boat safety equipment
- Minimum safety equipment to carry
Trip planning and Sharing the Waterways
- Boating trips
- Collision regulations
- Courtesy and common sense
Navigation Lights and Aids to Navigation
- Navigation lights
- Recognizing vessels by their lights
- Buoys ans beacons
Prevention of Emergency Situations
- Weather and Water Condition
- Hypothermia, heat stroke, etc.
- React to emergency situations
Crystal clear. Our team works hard to develop intuitive and effective training. No endless reading, interactive learning is the key to success!
Take the boating exam
After the bc boating course, you will be all set to take the official Transport Canada boating exam. We have created a practice boating exam to test your knowledge!
Print your temporary boating license and go boating NOW!
Once you have successfully completed your Transport Canada final exam, print your temporary boating license right away and go boating in British Columbia or any other Canadian province!
More boaters, more savings
We want to facilitate access to our boating safety course for groups and families. The more you are, the less you pay!
A complete 3-hour course… well organized in 6 chapters
- Study at your pace
- The card is valid for life
- Exam retries are free
More than 500 000 boaters have trusted us
Ace Boater is the best way to get your boating license and to have the freedom to go boating when you want, by yourself or with friends and family!
You may ask
- What is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)?
A PCOC is proof of competency which is required in Canada to operate a boat with a motor. The PCOC is proof that the boater has completed an online or in person course and has successfully passed the Transport Canada final exam.
- Is the Transport Canada boating license mandatory in BC?
Yes. The rule to qualify for the Canadian boating license (Pleasure Craft Operator Card) applies to all motorized watercraft throughout Canada, regardless of the length of the watercraft and the type and power of the motor used. You must have the card even while using an electric motor. Start the course!
- Is the boating license good anywhere in Canada?
Yes, the same card is issued for all the provinces and territories in Canada. Whether you're boating in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia(BC), Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Saskatchewan or Newfoundland, the card is legal across the country.
- Do I need a boat license to operate a boat with an electric motor in British Columbia?
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.
- How much does the boating license cost in British Columbia?
The cost of the boating license online safety course is only $ 59.95 plus taxes. This includes study time, the final Transport Canada exam and mailing of your first boating license.
- At what age can I get my boat license in BC?
There is no minimum age requirement for the boat license, but certain restrictions apply to operate a watercraft according to your age. You only need to pass the final exam.
- Does a boating license expire?
No, your Pleasure Craft Operator Card is valid for life and never needs to be renewed.
- Is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (a.k.a. boating license) the same as a Pleasure Craft License or registration?
A pleasure craft operators card is considered as proof of competency proving the boater has completed a boating safety course and has the knowledge required to operate a vessel safely and understands the rules and regulations of navigating on Canadian waters. A pleasure craft licence or registration is a unique number the owner must display on the bow of the vessel. It is mandatory for all pleasure crafts equipped with motors of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more.
- How can I replace a lost or broken boating license?
Before we can replace a lost or damaged Pleasure Craft Operator Card we must be sure that we originally issued it to you. Check with us by calling our toll-free number at 1-800-607-2329 to talk to an agent, or you can fill in the lost card form on our website and we will contact you by email within 24 hours, during our office hours.
If you took your online course with AceBoater.com, log into your profile and click on "Order Replacement Cards".
- Do I need to have a driver’s license to get a boating license in British Columbia?
No, a drivers license is not required to obtain the Pleasure Craft Operators Card. However to operate a watercraft you must carry your Pleasure Craft Operator Card on board with you.
- Do you have to carry your card on you at all times?
Yes, all operators are required to carry the PCOC on board and have it readily available for inspection by law enforcement when operating a vessel.
- Do I have to be a Canadian resident to get a Pleasure Craft Operator Card?
For non-residents, proof of competency can take one of three forms: A Pleasure Craft Operator Card; A completed boat rental safety checklist (for power-driven rental boats); or, An operator card or equivalent which meets the requirements of their state or country.
- How long is the boating safety course for BC?
Transport Canada requires 3 hours of study. At Ace Boater we have developed a training program to make your study time virtually interactive and pleasant.
- Where to navigate in British Columbia?
British Columbia is a paradise for boaters, however you like to enjoy the water. Its 26,700 kilometers of coastline and thousands of lakes make British Columbia an essential destination for holders of Canada’s Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), commonly known as a “boating license”.
With secluded inlets, majestic fjords, and hundreds of islands, the scenic British Colombia coastline is justifiably popular among recreational boaters, and the temperate BC climate makes it possible to boat year-round.
The shallow inlets and coves of Desolation Sound are much warmer than other areas in the province, making it a beloved ocean boating spot.
The Gulf Islands and Broughton Islands are ideal vacation destinations with many opportunities for sailing and cruising between charming seaside villages, forests, beaches, fishing waters, anchorages, marinas and Provincial Parks.
An abundance of marinas and smooth waters ideal for swimming or water skiing make Okanagan Lake another popular holiday destination. The many vineyards on the lake’s shores add to the attraction.
Lake Cowichan is a recreational boating hotspot that is great for water skiing, wake boarding and windsurfing. It also has beautiful sandy beaches if you prefer to take it easy. Meanwhile, Shuswap Lake is known as the houseboat headquarters of Canada.
Fishing enthusiasts are well served at Atlin Lake—the largest natural lake in BC—and Harrison Lake, that have an abundance of trout and whitefish.
- What if I fail the boating exam?
If you do not pass the final exam on your first try, you will have one more chance to retake the exam after 24 hours.
If you are unable to pass the final exam the second time, you will need to retake the course at no extra charge.
This is a standard set by Transport Canada to ensure all students fully understand the laws and regulations of navigating a vessel.
- How difficult is the Transport Canada-approved boating exam?
Not very difficult!
We teach you everything you need to know during the course to prepare you for the exam.
Our quiz's will help you retain the important stuff.
The final exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions and you will need at least 75% to pass. The exam is open book so you can even use our study guide to help you pass.
- I want to operate a boat in British Columbia. How do I get the BC boating license?
Its easy take the official Transport Canada approved aceboater boating safety course.
- What if I want to go boating in another province?
No problem, the Pleasure Craft Operators card is valid in every Canadian Province as well as our neighboring American States. You are certified everywhere in North America!
- What is proof of operator competency in Canada?
In Canada, if you operate a boat with a motor and use it for recreation, you need proof of competency — something that shows you have a basic understanding of how to operate your boat safely and know what to do in an emergency. Proof of competency is required with all motor types (including electric trolling motors) and even when the motor is not in use (such as when sailing).
A variety of documents may serve as proof of competency:
Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)
Note: A paper or electronic copy of a PCOC is NOT acceptable.
Certificate from a Canadian boating safety course completed before April 1, 1999 (when the current regulation came into effect)
professional marine certificate or equivalent
completed Rental Boat Safety Checklist good only for the rental period
for a visitor to Canada, an operator card or other document that meets the requirements of his or her home state or country
Proof of competency is not required in the following situations:
the boat is being operated in the waters of Nunavut or the Northwest Territories
a visitor to Canada is operating the boat he or she brought into Canada for less than 45 consecutive days
- What safety equipment is required onboard a boat in BC?
It all depends on the size of your boat. Aceboater has all this information ready for you in our safety equipment page.