Pleasure Craft Operator's Card (PCOC)

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Arctic Response provides Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) for recreational boaters.  Since 1 April 1999, Transport Canada requires that Canadians who operate power-driven boats for non-commercial purposes must hold a PCOC, or higher level of marine license.  Those who have taken a boating safety course prior to April 1, 1999 are not required to gain PCOC certification; however, a copy of their prior certification must be carried on board the pleasure craft.

The only jurisdictions currently exempted from the PCOC requirement are Nunavut and Northwest Territories.  Despite the current exemption, Arctic Response strongly recommends that all northern pleasure craft operators to receive formal boat training and certification.  The 2015 Canada Drowning Report prepared by the Drowning Prevention Research Center Canada for the Life Saving Society of Canada indicates the following:

  • 54% of boating fatalities are due to powerboat use;
  • Of these, 27% were from powerboats < 5.5 meters in length;
  • 13% were large powerboats and;
  • 2% were personal watercraft;
  • Canoes accounted for a further 21% of boating fatalities
  • 81% of victims were not wearing life jackets or PFD’s at the time, of which 34% had life jackets on board;
  • Alcohol consumption was a factor in 40% of boating related fatalities

Course Content

  • Minimum safety equipment requirements required for the boat
  • The Canadian buoy system;
  • Right of way regulations for waterways;
  • A review of all pertinent regulations;
  • Response procedures to emergency situations

This federally directed program does not include an on-water portion of training.  However, Arctic Response does provide Boat Handling programs to train boat operators on a variety of technologies and situations, including:

  • Canoes and kayaks;
  • Propeller driven vessels;
  • Jetboats;
  • Still / lake water operations;
  • River operations; and
  • Big river rescue operations

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