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Going boating in Québec? You need to get your BOATsmart! Pleasure Craft Operator Card before you launch the boat. Motorized boat operators of any age, with any engine horsepower, and any boat size will need to have their Québec Boating License in order to legally go boating in Québec.

Boaters caught operating a motorized boat on Québec's waterways without a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (boating license) will receive a fine of $250.

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Pleasure Craft Operator Card

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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 Québec? The FAQs.

What is a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)?
A Pleasure Craft Operator Card (also known as a PCOC or Québec Boating License) is proof that a boater has the proper training to operate a motorized pleasure craft on all Canadian waterways. Federal law states that all operators of motorized pleasure craft must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). Once obtained, your PCOC can not be suspended or revoked. Remember, it doesn’t cover you on the water unless you’re carrying it on board. We highly recommend keeping an extra card or two with you for on the boat, and in the boathouse - just in case!
Can I use my Québec Boating License to go boating in Canada's other provinces & territories?
Absolutely! Your Québec PCOC will allow you to legally operate a motorized boat in all of Canada’s provinces & territories and on any of Canada’s public waterways where motorized boating is permitted.
Where in Québec am I NOT allowed to go boating?
Good question. Some of Canada’s Provincial Parks have restricted areas to protect certain waterways, including Québec’s Provincial Parks, which may not allow motorized boating activities on certain lakes. Get out there and explore but be sure to follow the rules and restrictions for the new waterways you come across on your Québec boating adventure!
Who needs a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) in Québec?
A PCOC, or Canadian Boating License, is required to legally operate any boat powered with a motor in Canada. If you’ll be heading south to New York state, Vermont or even as far down as Florida to operate a boat in the United States, a boating license may be required, depending on which state you are visiting. Good news though - your Canadian boating license will be accepted in the U.S.
What’s the difference between licensing a boat and getting my boating license?
This is a little confusing - here’s the deal: A Pleasure Craft License is a document you get when licensing your boat. It contains a unique ID number. This number must also be displayed on your boat for identification purposes. A boating license on the other hand, which is officially called a ‘Pleasure Craft Operator Card’ or ‘PCOC’ is the card or ‘license’ a boat operator receives for becoming certified. So basically, your boat needs to get licensed - and so do you!
Will I receive a fine for not having a boating license in Québec?
Yes, there is a fine of $250 that you may receive if you’re caught operating a motorized boat without a boating license on Québec’s waters. Why take the risk? Get certified today for $49.95 and be covered for life.
How do I get a Boating License in Québec?
Start studying Canada’s Online Boating Course today and cruise through the Study Guide modules at your own pace. Once you pass the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test, print off your Temporary Card and get on the water right away!.
Wondering who patrols Québec's waterways?
The law enforcement in Québec is the The Sûreté du Québec (SQ). You can expect to see these officers on the lakes and rivers in Québec.
Do I need boat insurance in Québec?
No, boat owners are not required to have boat insurance in QC. However, it is a smart idea to protect your boat and your boating experience.
Do I need a boating license to rent a boat in QC?
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 as your proof of operator competency. A checklist won't teach you how to respond if your pontoon boat runs aground or if a passenger falls overboard when you're out fishing with your friends!

Québec'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)

Québec’s laws for boating & alcohol.

  • The fines and penalties for driving a boat while under the influence of alcohol in Québec 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 Québec.
  • There is NO difference between drunk driving & drunk boating.
  • Boaters in Québec are permitted to carry open alcohol on boats while the boat is underway. Even the boat operator may do so, as long as their BAC level does not exceed the legal limit of 80mg.
  • Contact the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) for more information about the laws for boating with alcohol in Québec.

Québec'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 Québec:

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 Québec 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

Interested in paying a fee to register your boat? Click here for more information on the options you have to register your boat in Québec.

Where to go boating in Québec!


As Canada’s largest province, it’s no surprise that Québec is home to countless waterways that are perfect for boating and paddle trips, like the St. Lawrence River, Charlevoix Québec, Ungava Bay, and James Bay. Got a few beach lovers on board? Cruise them to Grand Lac Saint-Francois or Lac-Aux-Sables to feel the warm summer breeze with sand between your toes!

Wherever you decide to go boating in Québec, you won’t be limited by boat launch locations, that’s for sure! Just check out all the available launch points here. Thinking about going fishing? You should be - the fishing is awesome in Québec! Just be sure to learn about how to get your Québec fishing license and get familiar with the rules and regulations in Québec’s 29 fishing zones before casting your line!

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.