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To legally operate a motorized boat in Manitoba, you must get your BOATsmart! Boating License (also called a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or PCOC). Your Manitoba Boating License can be used to operate a recreational motorized boat in any of Canada’s provinces & territories, where motorized boating is permitted.

Don’t risk it: If you’re caught driving a boat in Manitoba without your BOATsmart! Boating License you’ll receive a fine of $250 from law enforcement.

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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. Get certified now and cruise through at your own pace. We'll automatically track your progress as you go.

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We've been making smart boaters for more than 13 years. BOATsmart! is Canada’s largest Transport Canada Accredited Course Provider. We’re proud to be Canada’s Official Boating Educator. Your BOATsmart! Card is also accepted in more than 40 U.S. states. We’ve got you covered!

Boating in Manitoba? The FAQs.

Is a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) the same as a Boating License?
A Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is better known by Manitoba’s boaters as a boating license. It’s a federal competency card that you carry with you (like a driver’s license for your boat), and it is required to operate motorized boats in Canada. Once you’ve got your PCOC it will be good for life - no renewal will ever be needed!
Can I drive a boat in other provinces with my Manitoba Boating License?
Yes, your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is valid for boating anywhere in Canada, including any of Canada’s public waterways.
Do I need a Canadian Boating License in Manitoba?
Yes, your Canadian Boating License (the PCOC) is legally required to operate any type of motorized boat in Canada. The Pleasure Craft Operator Card can also be used to go boating in more than 40 U.S. states. You just have to get certified once and you’ll be covered!
How do you get a Boating License in Manitoba?
You must take the Transport Canada Approved BOATsmart! Course and pass the Boating Safety Test to get your Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Card. It’s easy! Simply take the official Transport Canada Test from home, online, print your Temporary Card and you can go boating right away.
How long does it take to get my Manitoba Boating License, and become a certified boat operator?
The BOATsmart! Online Course & Test take approximately 3 hours to complete. Once you pass the Official Transport Canada Boating Test you’ll get your permanent Manitoba Boating License Card in 4 weeks. But there’s no need to wait! Once you pass you can print a temporary Boating License and hit the lake!
How old do I need to be to get my Manitoba Boating License?
There is no minimum age to get your boating license in Manitoba, however, Canada does have age and horsepower restrictions for young boaters, depending on the engine horsepower and type of boat being operated. See infographic below for more information.
Is boat insurance mandatory in Manitoba?
No, boat insurance is optional in Canada. However coverage is highly recommended. You can save up to 25% of your annual boat insurance policy with BOATsmart! Assure.
What are the laws in Manitoba for boating & alcohol?
The RCMP enforce the laws for drinking and boating in Manitoba and they patrol the waterways regularly to make sure boaters are safe out there! For the specific laws for boating with alcohol on your boat in manitoba, see the list of rules we've provided below.
How can I keep my knowledge up-to-date if I never need to renew my Manitoba boating license?
Boating rules and regulations in Manitoba may change as the years pass, and it can be really helpful for boaters to refresh their knowledge 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 the safety equipment you need to have 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.
Do I need a boating license in Manitoba to rent a boat?
When renting a boat, you can use your completed boat rental safety checklist as your proof of operator competency. However, it's a super smart idea to get your official BOATsmart! Card. A checklist won't teach you how to respond if your pontoon boat runs aground or how to respond to cold water emergencies during remote fishing trips!

Manitoba’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)

Manitoba’s laws for boating & alcohol.

  • The fines and penalties for driving a boat while under the influence of alcohol in Manitoba 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 Manitoba.
  • There is NO difference between drunk driving & drunk boating.
  • Boat passengers may consume alcohol on board a boat in Manitoba 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 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for more information about the laws for boating with alcohol in Manitoba.

Manitoba'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 Manitoba:

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 Manitoba 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 Manitoba? There are added benefits to boat registration, but a fee will apply. Click here for more information.

Go boating in Manitoba!


Manitoba boaters have the boating lifestyle down to a science. Known as the ‘Land of 100,000 Lakes’, there’s no shortage of boating destinations to choose from here. If you’re in search of some top-notch spots to cast off, check out Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park with its Caribbean-blue waters, or Whiteshell Provincial Park, which boasts over 200 lakes. To find your nearest boat launch and get on the water today, use Discover Boating's list of local marina’s and boat ramps.

Feeling adventurous? Check out West Hawk Lake. This 115 metre deep lake was created by a meteor, and has become a really popular scuba diving location in Canada. For a more relaxing day on the water, Glad Lake and Goose Lake are both prime fly fishing spots. Just be sure to check out Manitoba’s Fishing regulations before you head out, and make sure you pick up a Manitoba fishing license!

Your next Manitoba boating adventure awaits! Get your Canada Boating License and hit the water 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.