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Old 12-10-2011
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Canada, Operator Competency Requirements

I'm thinking of taking a cruise around the Canadian Maritimes in the next couple of years.

The visitor information page on the "Transport Canada" site says about their "Operator Competency Requirements,"

The Regulations do not apply to non-residents who operate their pleasure craft in Canadian waters for less than 45 consecutive days. Please note that a proof of residence will be required on board at all times.

I hope to be in Canadian waters for more than 45 days.

If I were to visit the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon after say 40 days in Canada, would that be sufficient to give me a further 45 days.

I see there is a CBSA Office in Fortune, Newfoundland just across the water from St P & M: would I be wise to "check out" of Canada at the office and then "check in" again a couple of days later with evidence that I had been to France (St P & M)

Seasons greetings from a snow covered Scotland
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Old 12-10-2011
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My suggestion would be to contact Canada Border Services directly and talk to them. For the most part they're a friendly bunch and have access to the needed information. Going through the website can be tedious, but you may want to try there as well. I'm not sure how they'd take the dodge of going to SP/M to get out of the time requirement, but it should "technically" work.

Good luck, and enjoy the hospitality of the maritimes.
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Old 12-10-2011
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You can check in and check out every 44 days, but the test to get the card is not very hard, and costs less than $50, and then your stern is covered if you ever get hung up with weather on day 44.
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If your really worried about this you could always just get your Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Card. It only costs about $50.00. It took me about 15 mins to pass the test with no studying. They just recently made it "tougher" which means you have to do a online study guide first, but you can now do it at home and the exam is a guaranteed pass, you just have to wait 24 hours to try it again.

Other then that the Canadian Coast Guard is underfunded so the chance of anyone bothering you to check for this is very slim. Although when you check in with customs when you first arrive they might ask.

If you want to check out the exam click this link.Boating License | BOATsmart! Canada Pleasure Craft Operator Card | Boat License Exam
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Old 12-10-2011
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Thanks for the advice regarding the "operator card". I had not realised quite what a minimalist qualification it is. If I have read the website correctly I can do the exam from this (eastern) side of the Atlantic without ever having even been on a boat.

Getting "operator card" seems the easy route.

Other than the operator card issue cruising in Canada seems fairly straightforward in terms of bureaucracy.
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Old 12-10-2011
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You can take the test online with some providers. Here is a list

List of all TC-accredited Course Providers - Transport Canada
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Not a problem, and your gonna love Newfoundland. The whole east coast is awesome but Newfoundland is definitely the best part. If you haven't yet, I suggest you read, The Boat That Wouldn't Float by Farley Mowat. It mostly takes place in Newfoundland and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
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Old 12-10-2011
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The regulations are all worded kind of strangely. The regulation itself is that you need proof of competency and age onboard.
This does not apply if you are non-resident and are there for less than 45 days, i.e. you don't need proof of competency onboard at all.
Once you get to 45 days, then you need proof of competency and age onboard.
The competency itself doesn't have to be a PCOC as far as I know, any equivalent document from your resident country should be sufficient. The PCOC is just there as a "standard" and to make a few dollars for Transport Canada
From the regulations:
Quote:
“proof of competency” means a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, a Boating Safety Course Completion Card, a rental boat safety checklist, proof of the successful completion of a boating safety course, or a certificate or other document pertaining to boating safety knowledge, as required under section 4
And section 4 states:
Quote:
(2) A person who is not a resident of Canada is competent to operate a pleasure craft if the person

*

(a) has proof of competency as set out in subsection (1); or
*

(b) has been issued a certificate or other similar document by the person’s state or country of residence attesting that the person has acquired the boating safety knowledge required by the state or country.
so, as long as you've got some sort of UK issued proof of competency (RYA certificates etc) I think you would be fine.
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Last edited by PaulinVictoria; 12-10-2011 at 03:38 PM.
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Originally Posted by PaulinVictoria View Post
T
The competency itself doesn't have to be a PCOC as far as I know, any equivalent document from your resident country should be sufficient. The PCOC is just there as a "standard" and to make a few dollars for Transport Canada
TC makes no money from the PCOC, that all goes to the providers. TC does monitor the providers to ensure some quality control.
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Last edited by jackdale; 12-10-2011 at 04:07 PM.
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Also when you go to St Pierre you are in France (it is quite fun - like a little Breton, highly-subsidized village with good food and wine (not something you will find in Nfld)). Some places to visit on the south coast - Grand Bruit (gorgeous spot), Petites (best small boat harbor I have ever seen), Burgeo (the metropolis, it has a road in and a popn of 1000!) and a place we anchored at the end of a short fiord (can't remember the name, but cliffs on either side that were in the 1000' range - watch out for the 'blow-me-downs', catabatic winds dropping off the cliffs.
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