Boater Exam

Why take the Boater Exam®

To legally operate a pleasure craft on the water in Canada, all boaters must pass a Transport Canada accredited boater exam®. The boater exam® is taken to obtain a pleasure craft operators card. All boaters and pleasure craft operators must have passed an accredited boater exam® and possess a valid pleasure craft operator card.

The boater exam® can be taken at the
following transport Canada accredited website.


Does Transport Canada or the Canadian Coast Guard teach boating safety courses or offer the boater exam®?

No. Private companies administer all courses and tests and issue all cards.

Do I need to take a course before I write the boater exam®?

Taking a boating safety course is strongly recommended regardless of age or experience. However, you can challenge the boater exam® without taking a course.

Why take a boating safety course?

  • To help you pass the boater exam®
  • 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.

Do I need a boat license to operate my boat?

Sometimes proof of competency is also referred to as a license to operate a vessel. The two are not the same. In most instances what people actually want to know about is the requirement to carry proof of competency, as required under the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations.

Currently, proof of competency is required if you fall into one of two categories:

  1. You operate a pleasure craft fitted with a motor AND are born after April 1, 1983; or,
  2. You operate a pleasure craft, fitted with a motor, that is under 4m (13 feet) in length (regardless of age).

If you were born before April 1, 1983 and operate a pleasure craft, fitted with a motor, that is 4 m and over in length, you will require proof of operator competency by September 15, 2009.

Isn’t an operator card just another word for a license?

No, unlike a driver’s license, the operator card cannot be revoked and is good for life.