Government Requirements

Pleasure Craft Operator Card

In BC and across Canada, ALL operators of recreational powered watercraft must have proof of operator competency in order to operate any vessel. Proof of competency must be carried onboard the pleasure craft at all times while operating the craft. Failure to carry proof of competency can result in harsh monetary fines, which may be issued by any officer of the peace.

Note: "operate" refers to the act of controlling the speed and course of a pleasure craft.


Proof of competency can be a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, a Boating Safety Course Completion Card, a rental boat safety checklist, proof of successful completion of a boating safety course, or a training certificate recognized by Transport Canada.

If carrying a Pleasure Craft Operator Card as proof of competency, the original card must be carried on board. Photocopies or other copies of the card will not be accepted as proof of competency.

In the case of non-residents of Canada, they are required to have proof of operator competency if they operate their pleasure craft on Canadian waters for more than 44 consecutive days, or if they are operating a pleasure craft that is registered or licensed in Canada. An operator card that meets requirements in the non-resident’s home state or country will be recognized as valid proof of competency in Canada.

VSC is a BOATSMART Canada Affiliate. Please use the link below to register for the ON-LINE course.

It's the law: Department of Justice Canada Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations (SOR/99-53).


CCG approved training is required to use a VHF Station Radio in Canada. See the Industry Canada VHF Study Guide. The new course incorporates DSC (Digital Selective Calling and AIS. Remember: It's the law - Department of Justice Canada VHF Regulations.

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