Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find an answer to your question in the following list, please contact us at: support@freecourse.ca. We will provide a complete written answer within 24 hours.


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About us

Is freecourse.ca® accredited by Transport Canada?
Yes. freecourse.ca is accredited by Transport Canada to deliver boating safety courses and administer tests for the issuance of Pleasure Craft Operator Cards, including replacement cards, under the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations
How can I verify that freecourse.ca® is accredited by Transport Canada?
A list of course providers that have been accredited by Transport Canada is available at this page on Transport Canada's web site:

About the Pleasure Craft Operator Card

What is a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC)?
The Pleasure Craft Operator Card is the most accepted proof of competency to operate a powered pleasure craft in Canada. The card is obtained by obtaining a passing grade on a Transport Canada boating safety test.
Is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card the same as a driver's license?
No. The PCOC is proof that a boater has obtained a defined standard of boating knowledge. It is a certificate, not a license.
How often must the card be renewed?
Your pleasure craft operator card is valid for life. There are no annual fees; it never needs to be renewed.
It is possible to purchase a duplicate card in case of loss or if you have more than one watercraft and you wish to keep a card on board each craft.
Who is required to have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card?
As of September 15, 2009, operators of all powered recreational vessels must carry a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or other proof of competency at all times when operating any type of powered pleasure craft on any Canadian waters.
Proof of competency is something that shows that you understand the rules of the road and how to safely operate a boat. The most common forms of proof of competency are:
  • Pleasure Craft Operator Card
  • Recognized boating safety course certificate (issued prior to April 1, 1999)
  • Rental boat safety checklist
Is there a grandfather clause or an age exemption?
All operators of powered pleasure craft have to obtain a PCOC or other proof of competency.
The operator of a pleasure craft is deemed to be the person at the controls.
How can I obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card?
There are two ways to obtain the PCOC:
  1. Online PCOC Test - You can obtain your PCOC by passing an online PCOC test. The online test is unsupervised and open book. To qualify to write the online PCOC test one must first study our seven-chapter online study guide and pass the quiz at the end of each chapter. Only once all seven quizzes have been passed, can one then write the online PCOC test.
  2. In-Person PCOC Test – The in-person on-paper PCOC test is a supervised, closed-book test. It is a challenge test, meaning that it is not required that you first take a formal boating safety course; you may instead prepare by studying our online study guide or a print-out of our downloadable course manual. Our in-person PCOC tests are only available through a testing agent.
To summarize:
  • Online PCOC tests are unsupervised and are open book
  • On-paper PCOC tests must be supervised and are closed book
How long does it take to get my PCOC?
When you pass the online PCOC test, you can print your Temporary Operator Card immediately. The temporary card expires 60 days from the date you passed the test. Your permanent Pleasure Craft Operator Card will arrive at your mailing address by first class mail within two to three weeks.
What is the total cost?
Our online boater training system and online boater testing system are free services; Candidates only pay a fee when they wish to order a PCOC (Pleasure Craft Operator Card).

About the Online PCOC Test

What is the format of the online PCOC test?
The test is made up entirely of 50 multiple choice questions.
Is it really an open-book, unsupervised test?
Yes. But after studying the online study guide and passing the OSG's quizzes, you will have no difficulty passing the accredited transport Canada test.
If I happen to fail the online PCOC test, can I try the test again? What is the cost of a retest?
You can retry the online test after a 24-hour wait during which you should review the online study guide.
There is no cost for the first attempt to pass the test or for subsequent attempts.
What is the passing grade for the online PCOC test?
The passing grade for the online PCOC test is 75% (i.e. you must answer 38 out of the 50 questions correctly).

About the Online Study Guide (OSG)

Why do I have to complete the Online Study Guide (OSG) in order to qualify to write the PCOC Test?
The online boater test is unsupervised in order to make taking the test as convenient as possible. And because it is unsupervised, users must first complete the Online Study Guide.
I have already reviewed other study material but I want to write the Transport Canada Boating Safety Test (PCOC Test) online. Am I still required to first complete the Online Study Guide before I can write the PCOC Test online?
To qualify to write the PCOC Test online, Candidates must first register for and complete an approved Online Study Guide.
If you are confident with your boating knowledge and want to take the PCOC Test immediately, then you may take the test in person.
The in-person, on-paper Boating Safety Test is a supervised, closed-book test. It is a challenge test, meaning that it is not required that you first take a formal boater safety course; you may instead prepare by studying our Online Study Guide or a print-out of our downloadable course manual. Our in-person boater tests are only available through a freecourse.ca testing agent.
What happens when the 3-hour timer in the freecourse.ca® Online Study Guide (OSG) finishes its countdown to zero?
You still have full access to the Online Study Guide (OSG) after the 3-hour countdown timer reaches zero. Visit the OSG as often as you want and take as long as you like to complete the course material and end-of-chapter quizzes.
Transport Canada requires that you spend at least three hours studying the OSG. We have included the 3-hour timer in our online study guide to confirm when you have met the minimum three-hour requirement.