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Pleasure Craft: Licence vs Operator Card

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You’ve got your sunscreen on. The cooler is packed. The lifejackets are ready. There’s nothing better than a day on the water but before you head out do you know the difference between a pleasure craft operator card and a pleasure craft licence? A pleasure craft operator card and a pleasure craft licence are not the same thing! In this article, we’ll explore the differences between the two and when each one is necessary.

What’s the difference between a Pleasure Craft Operator Card and a Pleasure Craft Licence?

The simplest way to define the two is the operator card is like your driver’s licence whereas the pleasure craft licence is like your vehicle’s licence plate. One says that you can drive. The other shows that the boat is registered to you.

The Pleasure Craft Operator Card is required for the operator of a boat, whereas a Pleasure Craft Licence is required for all boats fitted with an engine of 10 horsepower or more.

The original Pleasure Craft Licence certificate must be carried on board at all times and the Pleasure Craft Licence number must be displayed in a visible area on both the port and starboard side of each recreational vessel. Specific regulations as to the size and placement of the Licence numbers can be found in the Canada Shipping Act Small Vessel Regulations.

Who needs a Pleasure Craft Operator Card?

All motorized boat operators in Canada must have proof of competency, such as a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, (more commonly known as a boating licence) regardless of age, length of the boat, or engine horsepower, other than in waters of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Operating without proof of competency can result in a $250 fine. If your boat is equipped with a motor, even those smaller than 10 horsepower or an electronic trolling motor, you still need the card.

How do I get my Pleasure Craft Licence?

Normally when you purchase a boat from the dealer they will automatically send your information off for a license but if it was purchased privately then you need to do that on your own here.

Using a Pleasure Craft Licence

After you receive your Pleasure Craft Licence, you must use it as follows:

  • Carry the Pleasure Craft Licence on board the vessel at all times.
  • Display the number on both sides of your boat’s bow. The number must appear in block characters which are:
    • at least 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) high
    • in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the bow

Photo: BOATsmart

How long is each one valid?

A Pleasure Craft Operator Card is good for life! Once you pass the necessary course, you’ll have your operator card forever.

A Pleasure Craft Licence that was issued or updated after 2010 is valid for 10 years. At the end of that period, you must renew your licence. If you change your name, address, or particulars of the pleasure craft after you obtain a Pleasure Craft Licence, you must update your licence.

Expert Advice for your Watercraft Insurance

There’s more to insurance than the price of the policy and Wedgwood goes above and beyond for our clients with expert advice you can trust, but don’t take our word for it! There’s a reason we’re Newfoundland & Labrador’s most trusted insurance broker.

With over 170 Google My Business reviews, come experience the Wedgwood difference with expert advice from our dedicated team. We work to ensure that every client has the coverage that best suits their needs through upfront complimentary consultations and midterm reviews. Ready to discuss insurance for your boat?

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