FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I’d like to buy a boat. What do I need to know?
As you think about purchasing a boat, you must consider what journeys do you want to take? Do you prefer lake or ocean boating? Do you want a boat you can haul on trailer? All these answers will help determine which boat is right for you, where to buy and store it, determine if you need to license or register it. Visit our website for more info and links to new boat dealers/brokers and more. If buying used, you’ll want to ensure all inspections are done, such as sea trial, engine, hull, electrical and more.
I’d like to rent or charter a boat. What do I need to know?
YOU DON'T NEED TO OWN A BOAT TO BE A BOATER. Before you’re ready to buy your own boat, you can rent or charter boats of every size and type, for an afternoon, a weekend or even an entire summer. This way you can see which type of vessel and boating experience best suits your lifestyle before you buy. Our website can help you locate a rental or charter boat operator near you.
Chartering a vessel is more advanced than an afternoon rental. Chartered boats are typically larger and demand some level of training and experience to operate. People who charter a boat are expected to have their PCOC (pleasure craft operator card) plus additional training and experience as determined by the charter company. Make sure you clarify their expectations before you book as most will ask you to demonstrate your competency and provide proof of training or your hours on board.
There are also opportunities for shared ownership on larger vessels, or boating memberships that require no ownership at all. There are many ways to get you on the water, and Boating BC can help you explore which works best for you.
Do I need a license or certification to operate a boat?
A Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) is your Transport Canada (TC) accredited proof of basic competency to operate a power-driven vessel of any size in Canada and is only the first step in your journey to become a confident boater.
We recommend additional training for anyone who plans to spend more than a few hours out boating. You can get your PCOC card by taking an in-person or online course and successfully completing the exam. The card is good for life and is enforceable – if you’re out on the water, make sure you keep it handy as you can be pulled over and asked for it by law enforcement or volunteer officers. PCOC FAQ’s. You can take the PCOC course and exam with these course providers. This is all available on our website.
I’d to become a member of Boating BC Association. What are the benefits & how do I join? We welcome diverse businesses in the recreational marine industry, from yacht brokers to insurance providers and marinas. We have loyalty program discounts, as well as educational, networking and advocacy opportunities, exclusive to members. You can sign up online and learn more about all the benefits here.
Where can I find one-stop information on boating destinations in BC?
Look no further than our website for information about picturesque marinas, anchorages and marine parks throughout our beautiful province with ocean and lake playgrounds.
How do boaters ensure they’re not polluting the marine environment?
Responsible boaters take every precaution to ensure they treat our pristine waterways and coastal shorelines with care, from using eco-products, recycling, proper waste disposal and following the Clean Marine program. You can read more about green boating at our website.
I’d like to sell my used boat. Where do I go?
Our website offers a full suite of services to help you sell your boat.
Go to our members directory and search “sell” so you can explore the broad range of boat brokers who sell both used and new boats, in case you want to upgrade!
Where can I dispose of my boat?
You are responsible to ensure your old boat finds a good home (through sale or donation) or by disposing of it in the most environmentally responsible way possible.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled some resources to point you in the right direction. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers, and a list of businesses that offer boat disposal services in five of BC’s key regions. If you have a question that is not addressed, email us and we’ll find the answer for you.
Where can I dispose of expired flares?
We’re advised that fire or police departments and sometimes even the coast guard take expired flares. But best to phone first to confirm. CPS (Canadian Power and Sail Squadron) has already posted their flare disposal and BC regional collection dates for 2021. Link below.
Is there some kind of boating code of conduct or etiquette?
Yes, there is. Two of the most important are lending a hand and following the “rules of the road” just like you would if driving a car. Please visit our website for more.
I’m interested in a boating career. Where can I find out more?
Our website offers information on current job postings as well as scholarship opportunities to help you acquire the right post-secondary training to launch your career. Please click here for info on current jobs, post-secondary training and scholarships.
I’m interested in BC boating destinations. Where can I get more information?
Our spectacular province is a marine playground with plenty of ocean or coastal favourites, lakes and rivers to explore. You can check out some amazing destinations on our website with plenty of possible marinas, anchorages and more to visit.
Is there any legal requirement to “transfer” a boat license?
You will need to first identify whether the boat was licensed or registered (by the current owner or a previous one), then follow the steps for the appropriate transfer listed below (so it is one or the other, not both).
Licensing: If the boat only has a pleasure craft license, then you will need to transfer the license into your name.
Some examples licensed pleasure craft markings are 13K123456; BC1234567, 10D123456 or QC1234567. Licensing your pleasure craft is required by Transport Canada for all vessels that operate a 10 horsepower or more engine. Here is a link to the form that you would use to transfer the existing boat license to your name.
Registering: If the boat was registered, then there will be a different process. You will know if the boat is registered if: The exterior markings on a registered pleasure craft are the name of the vessel and port of registry, e.g. JOHN DOE, Toronto, ON
The interior markings on a registered pleasure craft are the official number and registered tonnage, e.g. O.N. 123456, N.R.T. 4.52
Transfer Ownership: This link will help you transfer the ownership on a registered boat. A toll-free number for more information about Vessel Registration: 1-877-242-8770. You can also look up information about the vessel using the Hull number (HIN) with Transport Canada.
For more info, contact: Office of Boating Safety in Vancouver Pacific Region (British Columbia) 700-800 Burrard St Vancouver BC V6Z 2J8 Telephone: (604) 666-2681 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: TC.PAC.TM.OBS-BSN.TC@tc.gc.ca
Transport Canada General Inquiries Page
Proof of Ownership: if it is a registered boat there should be an official number and it reads ON 12345 you go to Transport Canada Ships Registry web site, insert that number and proof of ownership should come up. Pleasure Craft Licenses: Q & A’s Link