Underneath the sporadic snowy days, spring has sprung and the urge to shine up the boat for spring is definitely there! The feeling of that wood grain wheel, those comfy, sun-warmed, vinyl seats that made it through another winter mold-free (yesss!) and the gleam of that double-waxed hull. Paradise is only a boat ride away!

But before you leave the dock with your Ontario boating license, or Pleasure Craft Operator Card, don’t forget to bring your Pleasure Craft License in the boat and throw that sticker on the bow of your boat proudly! Not sure what a Pleasure Craft License is? We can help with that.

If you’ve ever been behind the wheel of a car, you know what a driver’s license is, and you most likely know what a license plate is. Still with us? Good. It’s pretty similar for boating.

Pleasure Craft Operator Card vs. Pleasure Craft License: What’s the deal?

Pleasure Craft License: a document with a unique licence number belonging to a specific pleasure craft. You must carry a copy of your Pleasure Craft License on board at all times. This license number must also be displayed on both sides of the bow of your boat so that search and rescue and law enforcement can identify pleasure craft in emergency situations.

There’s a $250 fine for operating a vessel without a licence, so be sure to license your boat before heading out. (Think of it like a license plate, but for your boat.)

Illustration of a registered boat in Ontario

Pleasure Craft Operator Card: Proof of competency is issued following the successful completion of a Transport Canada Accredited exam. You must pass the official test to get your boating license or BOATsmart! Card, and you must have THIS type of boating license to legally operate a boat in Ontario. (Think of it like a driver’s license, but for your boat.)

Tell me more about this pleasure craft license…

If your motorized boat or PWC is powered by 10 hp or more, it needs a Pleasure Craft License! It’s important to remember that you must carry a copy of this document on board at all times. This license number (PCL) must also be displayed on both sides of the bow, above the waterline, as far forward as practical and where it can be easily seen. This number must also be in block letters, that are at least 7.5cm high and it must contrast with the colour of the background on your boat. Got it? Great! But why do you need one?



Why do you need a license for your boat?

Getting your Pleasure Craft License is the law for all pleasure craft powered by 10 hp or more, in all Canadian waters (eh?). It helps search and rescue teams and law enforcement identify boats in emergency situations, and these boat license numbers help find missing boats every year. Safety is key on the water!

How do I get my Pleasure Craft License?

Transport Canada, the good folks they are, have made the application for a pleasure craft license even quicker and FREE through the Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System. The alternative being a paper application form which you can print, fill out, and mail to the Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre.

Illustration of a woman filling out a boat licensing application.

If you choose to take the online route, simply click here, fill out the form online, pay ZERO dollars, and wait for your Pleasure Craft License verification in the mail or your email inbox.

At the end of the day, it’s really quite straightforward. Get your boating license (PCOC), get your boat licensed (PCL), and get boating (PERF)!

If you need your Ontario boating license for this summer, head to www.www.boatsmartexam.com and get licensed today! We’ve got you covered, Ontario!