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Do you need a boating license to rent a boat in Alberta?

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No, you do not need to have a boating license (PCOC) to rent a boat in Alberta. Transport Canada allows you to rent a boat in Alberta without a boating license if:

  1. You completed and co-sign a Rental Boat Safety Checklist with the rental boat company
  2. You understand the instructions provided by the rental boat company

Please Note: The Rental Safety Checklist is only valid for the duration of your rental and no longer.

Table of Contents

Why do you not need a boating license to rent a boat in Alberta?

Transport Canada requires that you have Proof of Competency to operate any power-driven vessel in Alberta.

According to Transport Canada, Proof of Competency can be any of the following:

  • A completed and signed Rental Boat Safety Checklist;
  • A boating license, also known as a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC);
  • A certificate that states you have successfully completed a boating safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999; or
  • A specified marine certificate or equivalency recognized by Transport Canada.

What is a Rental Boat Safety Checklist?

Rental Boat Safety ChecklistA Rental Boat Safety Checklist is a checklist rental companies use to ensure they cover all safety information with clients before their rental begins.

It is a requirement in Canada for anyone operating a boat with a motor to have proof of competency while on the water. Your rental boat safety checklist, once completed, is considered proof of competency. 

The checklist includes information on safety equipment, rules of the road, local hazards and what to do in an emergency.

The renter must check all boxes on the checklist and the checklist must be signed by both the renter and a representative of the rental company.

Below is a sample Transport Canada “Rental Boat Safety Checklist” :

What is the fine for not having Proof of Competency on board a rental boat in Alberta?

If you’re caught operating a powered watercraft without a boating license (PCOC), Rental Boat Safety Checklist or other proof of competency in Alberta, you could face a minimum fine of $250.

Remember that boating without proof of competency is not only illegal, but it’s also dangerous.

What do you need to rent a boat in Alberta?

2 Girls in Lifejackets

Before you can rent a boat in Alberta, you must meet certain requirements.

These requirements include:

  • Age: Boat operators that are 16 years of age or older can operate any pleasure craft regardless of its horsepower. Click here for further age restriction information.
  • Proof of Competency: You must have either a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, Completed Rental Boat Safety Checklist or Marine Certificate.
  • Safety Equipment: The rental company must have a minimum amount of safety equipment on the boat such as:
    1. A lifejacket or PFD approved for use in Canada for each person on board
    2. A buoyant heaving line that’s at least 15 m long
    3. A manual propelling device like a paddle or anchor with at least 15 m of rope, cable or chain in any combination
    4. A bailer or manual bilge pump for removing water from the boat
    5. A sound-signaling device or appliance
    6. A waterproof flashlight or three type A, B, C or D flares (only one can be Type D)
    7. Navigation lights for use during hours of darkness or reduced visibility
    8. A fire extinguisher for vessels with an inboard motor, fixed fuel tank, or fuel-burning appliance
    9. A re-boarding device like a ladder if the boat rises more than 0.5 m out of the water
    10. A magnetic compass for boats over 8 m long or out of sight of navigation markers

Can you drive your own boat without a license in Alberta?

No, you can not drive your own boat without a license in Alberta. It is illegal to operate a powered watercraft in Alberta without a boating license or other Proof of Competency. 

A Rental Boat Safety Checklist can only be used on a rental boat and is not recognized as proof of competency on a privately owned boat.

What size boat motor can you drive without a boating license in Alberta?

You can not drive a boat with a motor in Alberta without a boating license (PCOC) or other proof of competency, regardless of the motor size or power. This includes all electrical motors regardless of their power rating.

Why should I get a boating license if renting a boat in Alberta?

Alberta Boater LicenseObtaining a boating license provides many benefits, even if you’re only renting a boat in Alberta. 

Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased safety awareness: the online boating license course teaches you how to operate a boat safely and how to respond to emergencies.
  • In-depth knowledge of boating regulations: the online boating license course also teaches you about boating regulations and laws, such as speed limits, right of way, and alcohol consumption.
  • Ability to operate a wider variety of boats: Having a boating license (PCOC) allows you to operate a wider variety of boats, which can be useful if you plan on renting larger types of boats in the future.
  • Faster Rental Check-In: Many rental companies have faster check-in processes for renters who already have their Pleasure Craft Operator Card.

Do you need a boat license to rent a Sea-Doo (PWC) / jet ski in Alberta?

No, you do not need to have a boating license (PCOC) to rent a jet ski in Alberta.

You can rent a Sea-Doo or jet ski in Alberta if you have:

  • A completed and signed Rental Safety Checklist;
  • A boating license, also known as a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC);
  • A certificate that states you have successfully completed a boating safety course in Canada prior to April 1, 1999; or
  • A specified marine certificate or equivalency recognized by Transport Canada.

Be Safe, Get Certified.

Alberta Boater LicenseIt is illegal to operate a powered boat in Alberta without a boating license (or other proof of competency), and the fines for doing so can be significant.  Additionally, obtaining a boating license is a good way to ensure that you are operating your boat safely and responsibly.

By completing a boating safety course and obtaining your boating license, you can gain the knowledge and skills needed to operate a boat safely, protect yourself and others, and avoid costly fines. If you want to test your knowledge – why not try out the free Alberta boating license practice test.

With the convenience and affordability of MyBoatCard.com’s online course, there is no reason not to get your boating license today. 

Join the over 2 million certified Canadians, and get your boating license in Alberta today!

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