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You need a Boating License in Alberta (also called a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or PCOC) in order to legally drive any type of motorized boat in the province. The Canadian PCOC is required across Canada for all ages, all types of motorized boats, and all boat engine sizes. Getting your boat licence gives you access to drive a motorized boat anywhere in Canada.

Driving a motorized boat in Alberta without your Pleasure Craft Operator Card on board will result in a fine of $250. Why take the risk? Get certified today.

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Boating in Alberta? The FAQs.

What is a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)?
A PCOC, more commonly known as an Alberta boat license, is a federal competency card. You must obtain and carry your PCOC in order to legally operate any powerboat or motorized boat in Canada. Unlike your driver’s licence, your PCOC can not be suspended or revoked, and once obtained, it’s good for life!
Can I use my Alberta Boat License in other provinces?
Yes. Your Alberta Boat License can be used to drive a boat in all of Canada’s provinces & territories and on any of Canada’s public waterways.
Are there lakes where I’m not allowed to go boating in Alberta?
Yes, certain waterways are protected like some of those located in Alberta’s Provincial Parks. But don’t be worried - go explore! There are endless options in Alberta where you can launch your boat and enjoy a great day on the water!
Who needs a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)?
A Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is required for all operators of motorized boats in Canada, with few exceptions.
How do I get a Pleasure Craft Operator Card in Alberta?
It’s easy to get your boating license in Alberta! To get your PCOC, you must take the Transport Canada approved BOATsmart! Course, and pass the Official Boating Safety Test. You can take the Online Boating Course and Test at anytime, from anywhere, on any device. The final Boating Safety Test is open-book, and includes free Test retries. It’s everything you need in one package!
Who enforces the boating laws in Alberta??
Alberta’s boating laws and regulations are enforced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), local law enforcement officers, and other local authorized authorities. Always be sure to follow the boating laws in your province to stay safe on the water.

Do I need boat insurance in Alberta?
No, boat insurance is not required for Alberta's boat owners, or for boaters anywhere else in Canada. However, it's a smart idea to make sure you're covered on the water with features like emergency towing. You can save up to 25% off your annual policy with BOATsmart! Assure. Get a quick, online quote now!
How old must kids be to get a boating license in Alberta?
There is no minimum age to take the BOATsmart! Online Course & Test and you can drive a boat at any age in Canada so long as you have obtained your Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Be aware that there are restrictions for youth boaters, based on engine horsepower. See the helpful infographic outlining Alberta's age and horsepower restrictions for boaters below!
How can I keep my knowledge up-to-date if I never need to renew my Alberta boat license?
Boating laws can change over time and we know that it can be really helpful after a long winter to refresh your memory on boating skills like how to dock your boat in the wind or how to anchor your boat for an overnight stay on the water. There's also lots to remember each season about boat maintenance and the safety equipment you need on your boat. That's why we've created our free BOATsmart! Knowledge Base and if you would like to have a boating handbook with you on the boat, you can do that too! Order a BOATsmart! Study Guide for a handy on-the-water reference.

Alberta's boating laws & fines:

Failure to carry a Pleasure Craft Operator Card

Operating a PWC under 16 years of age

Violation of age and horsepower restrictions

Operating a vessel in an unsafe manner

Insufficient number of Transport Canada approved lifejackets or PFDs (Warning: the fine applies for EACH missing or improper lifejacket or PFD)

Alberta’s laws for boating & alcohol.

  • The fines and penalties for driving a boat while under the influence of alcohol in Alberta are the same as those for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
  • A boat operator’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level cannot exceed 80 mg. This is the legal alcohol limit in Alberta.
  • There is NO difference between drunk driving & drunk boating.
  • Boat passengers may consume alcohol on board a boat in Alberta so long as the boat is licensed for alcohol consumption, or the boat has a permanent toilet, cooking facilities, sleeping facilities and it is anchored or docked.
  • Contact the Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for more information about the laws for boating with alcohol in Alberta.

Alberta's age & horsepower restrictions.

12 years of age & under: Can operate a boat without supervision so long as the engine is not more than 10 horsepower and they have proof of competency. They are not allowed to operate a PWC under any conditions.
12-16 years of age: Can operate a boat without supervision as long as the engine is not more than 40 horsepower and they have proof of competency. They are not allowed to operate a PWC under any conditions.
16+ years of age: Can operate a boat or PWC without supervision or horsepower restrictions so long as they have proof of competency.

How to get a boat license in Alberta:

A Pleasure Craft License or ‘boat license’ is a document and a set of I.D. numbers. The document must be on board your boat at all times and the numbers must be displayed on the bow of your boat at all times.

Do I need a Pleasure Craft License?

All motorized boats and PWCs in Alberta powered by 10 horsepower or more are required to have a Pleasure Craft License. The number must be displayed on both sides of the bow, above the waterline, as far forward as possible, in block letters at least 7.5cm high that contrast with the colour of the boat.

You can obtain a 10 year license for free from Service Canada. You must renew the license after the 10 year period has expired.

How to get a Pleasure Craft License

You can obtain a 10 year license for free one of the following two ways:

Option 1: Apply for a free Pleasure Craft License online.
Option 2: Download a paper application form and mail the form to the Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre at the following address:

  • Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre
    P.O. Box 2006
    Fredericton, New Brunswick
    E3B 5G4

Wondering how to officially register your boat in Alberta? There are added benefits to boat registration, but a fee will apply. Click here for more information.

Go boating in Alberta!


Alberta has an amazing variety of waterways that are awesome for boating! Go cruise those never-ending lakes on Alberta’s plains where you can lean on the bow and feel the warm breeze on the calm waters. Or head to the Rocky Mountains where you can cruise glittering lakes and look up to the amazing peaks of the mountains surrounding you while you make a wake or paddle your kayak! Alberta is a province where there is truly a boating adventure for everyone.

Explore glacier fed Lake Minnewanka, nestled in the Rockies of Banff National Park, or experience a day of wakesurfing on popular Lake Newell. Wondering where to launch your boat or looking for easy boating access? Check out Discover Boating’s Marina and Boat Launch finder, to plan your Alberta boating trip!

For the avid angler, head to Birch Creek to go fly fishing, or try your luck at reeling in any number of fish species at one of Banff National Park’s numerous lakes. Just make sure you learn all you need to know about Alberta’s Fishing License rules and regulations before casting a line!

Take Canada’s Online Boating Course now and be on the water in just a few hours! Get your Alberta Boating License and experience Alberta’s waterways today.

We're boaters too, so we get it.

Think of us as your boating coaches and get in touch by phone, email or chat anytime you need our support! Our bilingual team of safe boating experts can answer any questions you have about getting your Boating License, Canada's boating laws or they can even just hook you up with some great tips and advice to help you enjoy your time on the water.
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The BOATsmart! Card is good for life and valid in all of Canada's Provinces & Territories including Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon.