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.

Prerequisite(s): None

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:


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

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.

Purchase the Boat Study Guide from our online shop!