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Proof of competency - Transport Canada - Boat License

As of September 15, 2009, everyone who operates a motorized pleasure craft must carry proof of competency on board at all times (does not apply to the Northwest Territories and Nunavut). Proof of competency is not required for a pleasure craft without a motor.

Proof of competency can be any of the following:

  • A Pleasure Craft Operator Card;
  • Proof, such as a course certificate, that you have successfully completed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999; 
  • A specified marine certificate from the List of Certificates of Competency, Training Certificates and other Equivalencies accepted as Proof of Competency when Operating a Pleasure Craft;
  • A completed rental boat safety checklist.

If you are a non-resident visiting Canada with your boat, you are not required to carry proof of competency on board as long as your boat is in Canada for less than 45 consecutive days.

If you do require proof of competency (because the above doesn’t apply or you want to operate a boat licensed or registered in Canada), then you may either show an operator card or similar proof of competency issued by your home state or country, or obtain a Canadian proof of competency. Either way, you must keep proof of residence on board with you at all times.

Certificates of competency, training certificates and equivalencies directly pertaining to the operation of a vessel are recognized as proof of competency when operating a boat fitted with a motor that is used for recreational purposes. To obtain the list of those equivalencies, you can contact Transport Canada at 1-800-267-6687 or refer to their website at If you hold any certificate on this list, you need only make sure that you carry your certificate on board. You may carry the original document(s) or a copy of the certificate. 

As for the pleasure craft operator card, the operator must have the original card on board since a copy is not accepted.

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