Boat Operator Accredited Training™ (BOAT)
The Lifesaving Society is a Transport Canada approved testing organization and course provider as part of the Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program. The Boat Operator Accredited Training (BOAT)™ program is designed to prepare candidates to write and pass a standardized Transport Canada Exam to earn their Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card. Candidates learn about many aspects of safe boating, including:
- Navigation regulations and “rules of the road”;
- How to respond to emergencies; and
- Knowledge about operating pleasure craft (for example, about safety equipment, loading limits, buoys, beacons, weather, and fueling procedures).
BOAT Test Centres have the option to offer the BOAT course and may facilitate challenge exams where individuals who have prior training or boating knowledge challenge a Transport Canada Boating Safety Test to earn their Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card.
Instruction: BOAT instructors teach this course. A proctor is required for the “exam only” option.
Evaluation: Candidates must achieve 75% on a current Transport Canada Boating Safety Tees. They may re-write the exam at any official exam-writing session.
Who Needs The Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card?
The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations require all Canadian operators of pleasure craft fitted with any type of motor and used for recreational purposes to carry proof of competency on board.
Proof of competency is not required in the waters of Nunavut and Northwest Territories at this time.
The most common form of proof of competency is a Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) card obtained after passing an accredited boating safety test.
The PCO card does not expire and cannot be revoked or suspended.
Boat operators caught without proof of competency on board are subject to fines.
Age & Horsepower Restrictions:
Under 12 years of age, and not directly supervised
Can operate a vessel with no more than 10 hp (7.5 KW)
Between 12 and 16 years of age, and not directly supervised
Can operate a vessel with no more than 40 hp (30 kW)
Under 16 years of age
Not allowed to operate a PWC (i.e. seadoos, jetskis)
16 years of age and older
No power restrictions
How to get a PCO Card
Federal regulations require all operators of motorized boats and personal watercraft to carry proof of competency such as a Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) card in accordance with the standards and guidelines established by Transport Canada.
The Boating Safety Test:
- Consists of 50 questions
- Is designed to be suitable for any age group
- Multiple-choice with a pass mark of 38/50 or 75%
Several Options are Available
The Society has several options for anyone interested in obtaining their Pleasure Craft Operators card through us.
Option 1 -- Write the Test
If you are an experienced boater, or have formal training as a boat operator, this may be the option for you. Simply call any Lifesaving Society BOAT Test Center and arrange to write the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test. Check our list of Lifesaving Society BOAT Test Centers below to find the one closest to you.
Option 2 -- Study at Home
Read the BOAT Study Guide, brush up on your boating knowledge, then drop in to your local BOAT Test Center and write the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test.
The BOAT Study Guide is available from all our BOAT Test Centers or can be ordered directly from the Lifesaving Society by visiting THE SHOP.
Option 3 -- Boat Operator Accredited Training (BOAT) Course
Many of our BOAT Test Centers will offer the 4 hour BOAT course which will teach the basics in safe boating. Course providers include the option to write the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test to obtain your PCO card immediately following the 4 hour BOAT course.
PCO Card Replacement
Cards issued by the Lifesaving Society
The Lifesaving Society maintains a database of all individuals who have obtained a Pleasure Craft Operator Card from the Society. Individuals can request a replacement card and will charged an administrative replacement fee. Contact the Lifesaving Society at 780-415-1755 or email@example.com.
Cards issued by other Organizations
Transport Canada has authorized the Lifesaving Society to issue replacement Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Cards to individuals who obtained their PCO card from another organization.
Individuals must demonstrate to the Lifesaving Society that they had previously had a PCO card. This can be done in three ways:
- Provide a photocopy of the original PCO card;
- Provide a copy of the letter that accompanied the PCO card when it was originally issued (must feature the card number, candidate name, address and date of birth); or
- Provide a verification letter issued by Transport Canada.
Individuals who require a replacement PCO card from an organization that is no longer in business or that has been suspended will need to contact Transport Canada.
Contacting Transport Canada
Transport Canada can issue a verification letter (valid for 60 days).
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-267-6687
BOAT Study Guide
There are about 10 million "boaters" in Canada. Over 40% of all Canadians 16 years of age and over get into a boat annually. But not all consider themselves boaters. The vast majority use boats to go fishing or camping, to water-ski, or as transportation.
Every time you go out on the water, there is a risk that you are in for more adventure than you expect. And the outcome may well depend on how prepared you are.
The Boat Study Guide contains everything you need to know to pass the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test for a Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card.
The Boat Study Guide is available on-line through THE SHOP.
BOAT Test Centers
Lifesaving Society BOAT Test Centers are authorized to offer the BOAT Course, sell the BOAT Study Guide, and administer the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test (for the PCO card). Contact the BOAT Test Center nearest to you to explore any of these options.
Current BOAT Test Center Listings, updated July 5, 2017
Facility Name, City
- Aquafun Centre, Taber
- Medicine Hat Family YMCA
- Pincher Creek Pool
- (403) 223-5544
- (403) 527-4426
- (403) 627-2565
- Acadia Pool & Fitness Centre, Calgary
- Foothills Pool, Calgary
- Glenmore Pool, Calgary
- Calgary Winter Club, Calgary
- Claresholm Aquatic Centre
- Elevation Place, Canmore
- Evan Poisson, Calgary
- Glencoe Club, Calgary
- Robert Giles, High River
- Stanley Szumlas, Calgary
- (403) 253-5999
- (403) 282-7309
- (403) 243-2815
- (403) 289-5511
- (403) 625-2172
- (403) 678-8930
- (403) 279-4779
- (403) 287-4114
- (403) 652-1799
- (403) 272-4623
- BiocleanAquatic Centre, Lloydminster
- Border Driver Education, Lloydminster
- Flagstaff Regional Aquatic Centre, Killam
- J. Cody High School, Sylvan Lake
- Hanna Pool
- LakelandCollege School, Vermillion
- Park Valley Pool, Drayton Valley
- Reg Kozoway, Ryley
- Rocky Mountain House Pool
- Three Hills Aquatic Centre
- VegrevilleAquatic Centre
- Vital Safety Training, Drayton Valley
- Western Financial Group, Vermilion
- (780) 875-4497
- (780) 875-0179
- (403) 823-1322
- (403) 385-3080
- (403) 887-2412
- (403) 854-3983
- (780) 853-8735
- (780) 514-2225
- (403) 783-0110
- (780) 632-7169
- (403) 845-6977
- (403) 443-2166
- (780) 623-6403
- (780) 542-2016
- (780) 853-6272
- Lifesaving Society Alberta and Northwest Territories
- Derrick Club, Edmonton
- Kinsmen Sport Centre, Edmonton
- Millwoods Pool, Edmonton
- Fountain Park Recreation Centre, St. Albert
- Haakeye Consulting, Sherwood Park
- Parkland County
- Robert Campbell, Edmonton
- Samantha Menzel, Morinville
- (780) 415-1755
- (780) 437-1833
- (780) 496-7318
- (780) 496-2931
- (780) 459-1553
- (780) 922-4225
- (780) 968-8400
- (780) 463-3033
- (780) 967-4339
- CFB Cold Lake
- Jean Marc Michaud, Cold Lake
- Portage Pool, Lac La Biche
- Mitch Carter, Fox Creek
- Boreal Forest Guides – Nancy Perry, Cold Lake
- Northern Lakes College, Slave Lake
- Peace Regional Pool, Peace River
- Mobile Safety Training – Shannon McKay, Slave Lake
- Wabasca Water World and Fitness Centre
- Westlock Recreation Centre
- (780) 840 – 8000 Ext. 7111
- (780) 639-2377
- (780) 623-6778
- (780) 622-3896
- (780) 826-0837
- (780) 849-8600
- (780) 624-3720
- (780) 837-4876
- (780) 891-3900
- (780) 349-3103
- Kevin Antoniak, Fort Smith
- Ruth Inch Memorial Pool, Yellowknife
- (867) 872-3143
- (867) 920-5683
- Port Hardy Recreation, British Columbia
- (250) 949-6686