Frequent Questions

Is certification mandatory for boaters?

  • Yes! Mandatory boating safety certification is in effect NOW. See below for details. Effective  September 15, 2009 all boaters  require a “Pleasure Craft Operators Card”. Read on to see how your family is impacted!

When do we need to have the “Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card?”:

  • Everyone who operates a power driven boat requires it Now! The regulations had been introduced in three phases but all are in effect now.

Why do we need Boating Safety training?

  • Reducing accidents and fatalities is the goal. There are an average of 200 fatalities per year and an estimated 6000 non-fatal boating accidents involving serious personal injuries or property loss.
  • Statistics show uneducated boaters experience 5 times as many fatalities as educated boaters.

I’ve been boating all my life, why do I need this now?

  • After teaching over 17,000 people, we have encountered many people with a wide range of boating experience.
  • Even very experienced boaters find they learn something new and find the course a good refresher.
  • Regulations have changed, you may not be aware of the changes.
  • The RCMP & OPP, who deal with serious boating accidents, tell us that most boaters don’t understand right of way rules and buoys and markers. The lack of knowledge in these two areas is the cause of many accidents.

While we recommend the course, experienced boaters can challenge the exam if they are confident of their knowledge. We strongly recommend reading the course material.

Why small boats first?

  • Many boaters are surprised that smaller boat operators had to have their “card” first. The reasons are simple.
  • The smaller boats are where majority of the fatalities happen.
  • There are a greater number of smaller boats than large.
  • A smaller boat is more sensitive to how it is loaded and susceptible to changes in wind, weather and waves. Ignoring these points in a small boat can be dangerous.

What is covered in the course?

  • new mandatory equipment requirements
  • regulations impacting boaters
  •  dealing with emergencies such as hypothermia, capsizing, grounding; how to call for help and indicate distress
  • understanding aids to navigation (buoys, markers)
  • right of way rules; identifying hazards . . . And much more!

How long is the “Card” good for?

  • The Pleasure Craft Operators “Card” is good for life.

What happens if I don’t have my “Card”?

  • You may be fined if you do not have your “Card”
  • Also, your insurance may be invalid. The new regulations make it similar to car insurance – no license – no coverage. Check with your insurance agent. Be sure that anyone who uses your boat has their “Card” if required.

At what age can children take the course and test?

  • We recommend youth take a course rather than challenging the exam. With the new test and course material, call us to discuss if you have children under age 12.
  • The best approach is for the whole family to take the course together. When the parents take the course at the same time as their children, they know exactly what their children have been taught and can reinforce the same knowledge.

What kind of exam is it?

  • The test is multiple choice. There are 50 questions effective April 15, 2011.
  • The pass mark is 75%. The passing rate of students taking our course is very high.
  • The pass rate of those challenging the exam without studying is low.

Where can I take a course?

  • Many people have asked us to set up courses for family, friends or club members. You can make it a fun event for your group. All you need is a minimum of 12 to 15 people .

In Winnipeg check with Continuing Education Department in your area.

In rural areas check with your recreation director.

What’s the difference between Boating Safety courses?

Not all Boating Safety instructors have the same experience! Learn from instructors who have extensive experience that can give real life examples. It makes it easy to learn and fun for boaters with all levels of experience. Rod & Marianne Nuttall are certified instructors each with over 45 years of boating experience in both power and sail boats; inland and ocean waters.

We have offered Boating Safety courses to many groups in Manitoba and NW Ontario since the inception of this program in 1999. We have certified over 17,000 boaters to date.

Here are comments from their students:

  • “I learned quite a few things . . . and I thought I was an “old hand.”
  •  “Great course !!!”

. . . the best feature of the course?

  • “having an instructor that “has been there, done that”
  • “knowledge of instructors & ability to answer all questions”
  • “good length of time – fun to be with instructors and people you know from your lake”
  • “knowledgeable, fun, interesting”

What about an online course and test?

  • Some providers advertise internet courses and exams. Many of these are quite acceptable if you prefer to learn on your own and do take the time to study.
  • But you must go through the course. You can no longer just write the test online without going through the course material. As you go through the online course material, you are given small tests before you can move onto another area.
  • This process was implemented to stop the cheating and fraud that was happening.

What about commercial boaters?

  • Anyone who works on a boat requires certification right now. Some smaller commercial boats may use the Pleasure Craft Operators Card training in lieu of other Commercial training. Call us or Transport Canada for clarification. Transport Canada recommends all commercial operators take a comprehensive course (6 hour basic is a recommended option).