Pleasure Craft Operator Card

As of September 15, 2009, all operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor used for recreational purposes, will need proof of their operator competency. This can be a Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card, other marine competency’s (which are listed on the Transport Canada web page: or call Services Canada at:1-800-267-6687), proof of having successfully completed a boating safety course prior to April 1, 1999 or a completed rental boat safety checklist (for power-driven rental vessels). This proof must be carried on the vessel by the operator at all times. (These requirements apply in areas outside the Northwest Territories and Nunavut at this time.)


There are also special restrictions for boat operators who are under sixteen (16) years of age. (At 16 years, there are no motor restrictions.)

Boat operators under twelve (12) years of age and not directly supervised** may only operate a pleasure craft with a motor of 10 hp. or less.

Those twelve (12) years of age or older, but under sixteen (16) years of age and not directly supervised** may operate a pleasure craft with a motor up to a maximum of 40 hp.

** Directly supervised means accompanied by and directly supervised by a person who is 16 years of age or older. Persons under 16 years of age may operate a motorboat outside their allowed limits if they have proof of operator competency (their Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card), and are accompanied and directly supervised.

The person providing this supervision must be 16 years of age or older, in the boat at all times, and not engaged in other activities.

These restrictions prohibit persons under the age of 16 from operating personal watercraft (PWC), regardless of whether they are accompanied by an adult or not!

The Pleasure Craft Operator Card does not confirm the operator has the training or experience to drive a boat, nor what conditions they are qualified to drive in. Nor does it imply the boat is adequate for the prevailing conditions. It is up to the operator to ensure they have proper training for both the boat and the conditions. The operator is expected to know the rules and regulations that govern Canada’s waterways. The operator is responsible for equipping the boat with the right equipment and for operating the boat in a safe and courteous manner. The operator is also responsible for ensuring the safety of the passengers and other boaters.

No one is allowed to operate a vessel while disqualified/prohibited.