On April 15, Transport Canada imposed a stricter, safety-centric boating exam. The new standardized test, which was created in an attempt to move to standardized safety testing for new boaters, is approved by BOATsmart!, Canada’s leading pleasure craft operator card provider (PCOC).
The new approach is said to be “learning-focused”, with a view towards increasing all Canadian waterways by establishing strict standards which must be observed in order to obtain a PCOC card, which is also referred to as a boating license.
“It is our hope that by providing Canadian boaters with increased education and training before they head out on the water, we can significantly decrease the number of and severity of boating-related incidents,” Canada BOATsmart president, Cameron Taylor told the Clearwater Times. “More than 100 boating fatalities occur each year in Canada, with another 6,000 suffering non-fatal injuries. Most of these are preventable and this move will help better prepare boaters to enjoy Canada’s waterways.”
Tests can still be administered online or in person, but the number of questions has increased from thirty-six to fifty. Questions will be assessed and updated regularly to ensure that boaters will receive the most up-to-date safety and prevention practices.
Online test takers will also be required to complete online studies prior to writing the exam – which can be taken from any Internet connection (previous versions of the test required supervision).
Boaters who already have their PCOC will not have to re-take the exam.
Despite the fact that all Canadian boaters are required by law to have a PCOC, it is estimated that 3 million Canadian boaters have yet to obtain the certification – which, if caught, can result in a $250.00 fine.
BOATsmart! Canada strives to provide Canadians boating education and certification exams that will enable interested boaters to obtain their PCOC. Transport Canada also offers boating safety courses which include the opportunity to obtain a PCOC.