New regulations for Canadian boaters

OTTAWA — New regulations in Canada will require all operators of motorized pleasure craft to have proof of competency by Sept. 15, 2009, Transport Canada – a government agency that oversees transportation in the country – said in a release last week.

Proof of competency can be a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, proof that the operator passed a boating safety course in Canada before April 1, 1999 or a completed Rental Boat Safety Checklist.

Pleasure Craft Operator Cards are issued when a person passes a test administered by an accredited boating safety course provider. While no one is required to take the course before taking the test, Transport Canada encourages pleasure boaters to get the training that will give them knowledge and skills that may save lives.

Already, any boater born after April 1, 1983, or anyone who operates a motorized pleasure craft less than four meters long, including personal watercraft, must have proof of competency on board, or risk fines up to $250.

"Our government wants Canada's several million recreational boaters to enjoy increased safety on the water," said Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "We believe that requiring proof of competency will help reduce the number of incidents and deaths that occur on our waterways every year."

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