Boat Operator Accredited Training™ (BOAT)

B.O.A.T. (Pleasure Craft Operator)

The Lifesaving Society's Boat Operator Accredited Training (BOAT) program offers an opportunity to learn about many aspects of safe boating, including:

  • Navigation regulations and "rules of the road"
  • How to respond to emergencies
  • And knowledge about operating a pleasure craft (i.e safety equiptment, loading limits, boys, beacons, weather, fueling procedures).

All candidates are required to pass a Transport Canada standardized written exam to receive their Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card.

Evaluation: Candidates must achieve 75% on the official exam. They may rewrite the exam at any official exam writing session.

Prerequisite: None

Boating Regulations

Who Needs the Pleasure Craft Operators (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 puposes 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:

  • Children under 12 years of age, and not directly supervised can operate a vessel with no more than 10 horsepower (7.5 KW)
  • Children between 12 and 16 years of age, and not directly supervised can operate a vessel with no more than 40 horsepower (30 KW)
  • Children under 16 years of age are NOT allowed to operate a Personal Water Craft (i.e. seadoos, jetskis)
  • Individuals 16 years of age and older - no power restrictions

How to get a Pleasure Craft Operator (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.

As of January 1, 2014 new PCO Card tests have been issued by Transport Canada.

The new PCO card tests:

  • are 50 questions
  • are designed to be suitable for any age group (in the past there were age specific tests).
  • remain multiple choice with a pass mark of 30/50 or 75%.
  • allows for a maximum of 60 minutes to complete the test.

Options Available from the Lifesaving Society

The society has several options for anyone interested in obtaining their Pleasure Craft Operators Card through us.

Option 1 -- Write the Test – A Simple Challenge

If you are an experienced boater, or have formal training as a boat operator, this may be the option for you. Contact the Lifesaving Society at 306-780-9255 or email us at for a list of BOAT Affiliates (approved organizations through the Lifesaving Society to offer the Society's BOAT Test or Training Centers) near you. Then simply call a Lifesaving Society BOAT Test/Training Center and arrange to write the PCO Card test.

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 PCO Card test.

The Lifesaving Society's BOAT Study Guide is available from all our BOAT Affiliates or can be ordered directly from the Lifesaving Society Branch Office in Regina by calling 306-780-9255.

Option 3 -- Boat Operator Accredited Training™ Course

Many of our BOAT Affiliates will offer the 4-hour BOAT course which will teach the basics in safe boating. Course providers include the option to write the PCO Card test to obtain your PCO card immediately following the 4-hour BOAT course.

BOAT Study Guide

There are about 10 million "boaters" in Canada. Over 40% of all Canadian 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 waterski, 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 outsome may well depend on how prepared you are.

The BOAT Study Guide contains everything you need to know to pass the test for a Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card.

The BOAT Study Guide is available through the Lifesaving Society's Branch Office in Regina, SK.

Please call 306-780-9255 to order.

Internet/Online Testing

Although the Lifesaving Society does not offer internet testing, here are a few things to know if you choose to seek out that method:

As of April 15, 2011, Transport Canada has new rules for internet testing for PCO card:

  • Candidates must complete a minimum three-hour online study guide before taking the test. The online study guide must be composed of at least five modules. Each module must conclude with a practice quiz that must be successfully answered before going onto the nest module.
  • PCO Card test has 50 questions that can be displayed only one questions at a time, with no option to go back once answered.
  • The candidate can print a temporary card if successful in passing the test.
  • If the Candidate is unsuccessful, he or she must repeat the online study guide session.

Lost PCO Cards

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 be charged an administrative replacement fee. Contact the Lifesaving Society at 306-780-9255.

Contact the Lifesaving Society in Regina to find the closest Test or Training Centre to you.   306-780-9255