Boating in British Columbia
Owners and operators of pleasure craft are required to obtain certain documentation, which depends on the type and size of the boat and the power of the engine. Basic information is provided below, with general information about boating safety and the Safe Boating Guide available from Transport Canada's Office of Boating Safety, or you can call the Safe Boating line at 1-800-267-6687.
Operator Card (PCOC)
The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations require operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor and used for recreational purposes to have proof of competency on board at all times. Proof of competency can take 1 of 3 forms: (1) A Pleasure Craft Operator Card; (2) Proof of having successfully completed a boating safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999; or (3) A completed rental-boat safety checklist. For more information visit Transport Canada: Pleasure Craft Operators.
Boat Licence Number
A pleasure craft licence provides a unique identification number-commonly referred to as the "licence number"-that owners must display on a recreational vessel's bow, as required under the Small Vessel Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Owners must either license or register all recreational vessels powered by engines of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more, regardless of where they operate them in Canada. Law enforcement and search and rescue officials use the licence number to help trace a pleasure craft to its owner. Delivery of Pleasure Craft Licensing is available at Service Canada Counters. For more information visit Service Canada - Pleasure Craft Licences.
Radio Communications Equipment
If you have an American operator's licence, you may use your aircraft, marine or amateur radio while visiting Canada. All other types of radio transmitting stations may only be used in Canada if accompanied by a letter of registration from Industry Canada's Radio Regulatory and Broadcasting Branch (613) 998-3372.
Under Canada Customs regulations, the master of each vessel arriving from a foreign port or destination must report immediately to customs upon arrival in Canada. Only the master is permitted to go ashore to make the report. All passengers, merchandise and baggage must remain on board until released. Failure to comply with Customs law could result in penalties or seizure of your vessel. Remember that handguns, pistols, automatic firearms, and personal protection devices including stun guns, mace and pepper spray are prohibited entry into Canada.