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Transport Canada Approved

We've been making smart boaters for more than 17 years. BOATsmart! is Canada’s largest Transport Canada Accredited Course Provider and we’re proud to be trusted by more Canadian boaters. Your BOATsmart! Card is also accepted in more than 40 U.S. states. We’ve got you covered.

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Kempenfelt Bay, ON

"Amazing Job!"

“Wow, you guys have done an amazing job! Way more interactive and interesting than 8 years ago when I first took the boat exam. I am very impressed.“

Billy Allen

Pro Wakeborder

BOATsmart! courseware on a tablet.

Watch, Listen & Learn

From anywhere, on any device at any time.

Our animated and narrated Boating Safety Course is perfect for all ages. Study from your Smartphone, Tablet or Desktop and switch between devices at any time. BOATsmart! automatically tracks your progress so you can study at your own pace.

Alberta Boating License Requirements

WHAT IS A PLEASURE CRAFT OPERATOR CARD?

A Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), more commonly known as an Alberta boat license, is a federal competency card. You must obtain your PCOC in order to legally operate any power boat or motorized boat in Canada. Unlike your driver’s licence, your PCOC can not be suspended or revoked. Your PCOC is good for life, and must be carried on board your boat during operation. 

WHERE CAN I GET MY ALBERTA BOATING LICENSE?

To get your PCOC in Alberta, you must take the Transport Canada approved BOATsmart! Course, and pass the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test. You can take the boating course online, from the comfort of home. The boating safety test is open-book, and includes free retries. Once you pass the test you can print a Temporary Certificate to go bating right away. The permanent PCOC will arrive in the mail within 4 weeks. 

HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO GET A BOATING LICENSE IN ALBERTA?

Alberta boat operators of any age can take the BOATsmart! Course and get certified with their PCOC. There are no age restrictions. However, there are engine horsepower restrictions for boaters who are less than 16 years of age.  See below.

AGE AND HORSEPOWER RESTRICTIONS

No children under 12 years of age can operate a powerboat with a more than 10 horsepower engine.

Youths, aged 12 to under 16 years of age may only operate a boat with a motor up to 40 horsepower unsupervised.

In order to operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC) commonly called a Jet Ski or Sea Doo, operators must be at least 16 years of age, and be certified with their PCOC.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET MY BOATING LICENSE?

Boaters can get their Boating License online in as little as 3 hours, by completing the online boating safety course and passing the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test. Once completed, they can print an official temporary boating license immediately. BOATsmart! then mails the permanent card within four weeks. Although boaters can complete an in-person classroom course and test, the online course is the fastest way to complete the process. 

CAN I GET REFRESHER LESSONS AFTER TAKING THE BOATING COURSE?

Yes. BOATsmart! offers a free Knowledge Base with everything boaters need to keep up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations. There’s lots to know about the boating safety equipment you need onboard, as well as remembering the different types of marker buoys on Alberta’s waterways. Additionally, boat operators in Alberta can use the printed BOATsmart! Study Guide to brush-up on their boating safety knowledge at any time. The BOATsmart! Study Guide is available online and at Canadian Tire.

DO I NEED A LICENSE TO RENT A BOAT IN ALBERTA?

Boat operators in Alberta must either obtain their PCOC or complete a Rental Boat Safety Checklist in order to legally rent and operate a boat in the province. The PCOC program teaches you everything you need to know about boating safety, it’s highly recommended that you get certified with your boating license before operating a boat.

Boating and alcohol in Alberta

ALBERTA’S BOATING AND ALCOHOL LAWS

Alcohol may only be consumed on board boats equipped with a galley, head, and sleeping quarters, and may only be consumed while the boat is at anchor. It is illegal to operate a vessel in Alberta while consuming alcohol. Additionally, while underway, open alcohol cannot be transported on any type of boat in Alberta. The fines and penalties for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol in Alberta are the same as those for operating a motorized vehicle.  

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and local municipal police enforce Alberta’s boating and alcohol laws. Contact the Alberta Provincial Police for more information about the laws for boating with alcohol in Alberta.

ALBERTA BOATING AND ALCOHOL LAWS

There is NO difference between drunk driving & drunk boating. For this reason, Boating and Alcohol offences 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.

A drunk boater may have their driver’s license suspended for a minimum of 1 year.

Alberta’s Ignition Interlock Program will apply to those convicted of 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.

Age & Horsepower Restrictions

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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. Boaters 12 years of age and under are not allowed to operate a PWC under any conditions. 

Silhouette of a 40 litre onboard motor

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.

Silhouette of an onboard motor larger than 40 litres

16+ YEARS OF AGE

Can operate a boat or PWC without supervision or horsepower restrictions so long as they have proof of competency.

A Boatsmart Canada pleasure craft operator card

ALL OPERATORS

All boat operators in Alberta regardless of age are required to obtain and carry a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or face a fine up to $10,000.

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Alberta's Boating Fines

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Failure to carry a Pleasure Craft Operator Card

Up to $10000

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Operating a Personal Watercraft (PWC) under 16 years of age

Up to $10000

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Violation of age and horsepower restrictions

Up to $10000

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Operating a vessel in an unsafe manner

Up to $10000

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Insufficient number of Transport Canada Approved lifejackets or PFDs. Fine is applicable for EACH missing or improper lifejacket or PFD.

Up to $10000

General Boating Alberta FAQs

WHO ENFORCES ALBERTA’S BOATING LAWS?

Both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and local municipal police detachments patrol Alberta’s waterways. 

Boating Emergencies:
Call 911 for emergencies on the water, like a boating accident or drowning.

CAN I USE MY ALBERTA BOATING LICENSE TO BOAT IN OTHER PROVINCES?

Yes. Your Alberta boat license can be used to drive a boat in all of Canada’s provinces and on any waterway. 

ARE THERE SPEED LIMITS THAT APPLY ON ALBERTA’S WATERS?

Yes. Boat operators in Alberta must abide by posted speed limit signs and other boating restrictions. These restrictions may vary depending on where you’re operating your boat, your distance from shore, or the presence of hazards or marine life. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Canada’s navigation buoys and boating restrictions signs to stay confident on that water.

How To Get a Boat License in Alberta

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.

HOW DO I GET A PLEASURE CRAFT LICENSE?

You can obtain a 10-year license for free from Service Canada. There are two ways to obtain the license:

Option 1: Apply for a free Pleasure Craft License online.

Option 2: Download a paper application form and mail the completed form to the Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre at the following address:

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

REGISTERING YOUR BOAT

Registering your boat is different than obtaining a Pleasure Craft License for your boat. There are added benefits to registering your boat.

BUYING A NEW OR USED BOAT IN ALBERTA

Buying a boat in Alberta? Whether it’s a brand new boat from a dealership or a used vessel, you’re required to obtain a Pleasure Craft License. You are also required by law to ensure you carry on board all of the required boating safety equipment for the type and size of vessel. 

DO I NEED BOAT INSURANCE IN ALBERTA?

No, boat owners are not required to have boat insurance in Alberta. However, there are benefits to insuring your boat including 3rd party liability, replacement and accidental damage coverage. Boaters who obtain their license with BOATsmart! automatically qualify to save up to 25% off boating insurance.  

Bowrider boat with Alberta registration number on the side. Illustration.

A Pleasure Craft License or ‘boat license’ is a document and a set of I.D. numbers for your vessel. 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.

Welcome To The Sunshine Province

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Alberta Boating Destinations

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.

Helpful resources for boating in Alberta

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25% off your boat insurance

Get certified with BOATsmart!® and save up to 25% on you annual policy premiums – for life. BOATsmart! Assure® is a new way to buy boat insurance. You get premium coverage at consumer direct pricing.