COVID-19 measures, updates, and guidance issued by Transport Canada
Message from Transport Canada on COVID-19
Transport Canada recognizes the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the marine industry generally, and recreational boaters specifically. While the recreational boating season is about to begin for much of Canada, it is important to remain diligent to limit the transmission of COVID-19 and to promote the health and safety of people on the water. The department is calling on Canadian recreational boaters to stay home to help limit the spread of COVID-19, but to follow provincial or territorial guidelines, as well as direction provided by local or regional health authorities.
Transport Canada has developed new measures and guidance, as announced on May 14, 2020:
Pleasure craft north of the 60th parallel:
As of June 1, 2020, pleasure craft will be prohibited from operating within Canada’s Arctic coastal waters (north of the 60th parallel), as well as in the coastal areas of northern Quebec and Labrador. These restrictions will not apply to pleasure craft used by local communities, or used for purposes such as essential transportation or subsistence fishing, harvesting and hunting. These measures will remain in place until at least October 31, 2020.
Pleasure craft south of the 60th parallel:
Guidance has been developed for the use of pleasure craft in Canadian waters south of the 60th parallel and are to be considered alongside provincial, territorial and local measures to ensure the safety of everyone on the water.
- Info Sheet: Guidance for Canadians using marinas and boat launches
- Info Sheet: Safe boating for Canadians to reduce the burden on emergency responders
- Guidance posters for marine transportation
Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)
International Sail and Power Academy Inc., (ISPA) is Accredited by Transport Canada to provide the Pleasure Craft Operator Card course and Boating Safety Test through its ISPA PCOC instructors.
In Canada, if you operate a boat with a motor and use it for recreation, you need proof of competency — something that shows you have a basic understanding of how to operate your boat safely and know what to do in an emergency.
Proof of competency is required with all motor types (including electric trolling motors) and even when the motor is not in use, such as when sailing.
ISPA PCOC Instructor
You can take the Pleasure Craft Operator Card test with ISPA by using the ISPA PCOC Instructor of your choice.
Contact any of our ISPA PCOC Instructors, listed by province, OR, any of our Registered Schools or ISPA Certified Instructors!
Are You Exempt?
If you have previously passed a boating safety course you may be exempt from writing the Boat Safety Test under the grandfather clause.
If you hold an ISPA certificate issued prior to April 1, 1999, the Academy can issue you a PCOC without writing a test.
International Sail and Power Academy Inc. (ISPA) is authorized to issue a PCOC to anyone who provides proof that they successfully completed a boating safety course with ISPA prior to April 1, 1999.
The documentation provided by applicants seeking to be grandfathered-in must be verified by the course providers.
Applicants shall present objective evidence such as an original paper certificate, boating safety course completion card, database record, course roster, logbook or other written proof meeting the course provider standard.
If you are the holder of a marine certificate recognized by Transport Canada, you can carry your certificate (or a copy is acceptable) on board as proof of competency.
If the marine certificate is not issued by Transport Canada and the holder still wishes to obtain his PCOC he will be required to pass the Transport Canada official test.
Q: Do I have to have an EU ICC (European Union International Certificate of Competency) to operate a vessel or bare-boat charter in Europe?
A: Some European countries (those signatory to UNECE* ICC Resolution 40) insist that you have an EU ICC, however, in non-signatory European countries an EU ICC may not be required. In addition, the requirement to hold an EU ICC may vary between coastal waters and inland waters within EU countries.
Resolution 40 non-signatory countries, such as Canada and the USA, cannot issue EU ICCs.
Since EU ICC validity is determined by the country in which it was issued and the country in which you wish to operate or charter, it is not a truly international certification.
Some countries may accept the EU ICC as an alternative to their national qualification on nationally flagged vessels, but this should never be assumed as the EU ICC was never intended to be an alternative to Flag State qualification requirements.
*UNECE stands for United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. It is essentially a socio-economic regulatory agency that oversees such issues as transportation safety, food resources and other similarly important strategic issues.