3.0 Background

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Canada’s National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program began in Canada in 1999 in response to boating deaths and injuries, with the goal of improving safety on Canadian waterways through education and training. The program was phased in over a 10-year period and is now fully implemented. Anyone operating a pleasure craft fitted with a motor used for recreational purposes must carry proof of competency on board. Proof of competency can be:

  • a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) – this is the most common proof, issued to people after they pass an accredited boating safety test;
  • proof of having passed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999;
  • a specified marine certificate;
  • a completed rental-boat safety checklist, only valid for the rental period.

Online delivery of the National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program allows Canadian recreational boaters to access the latest boating safety information and to assist boaters in becoming more familiar and knowledgeable about boating safety.

This new standard replaces the existing Principles for Testing over the Internet.

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