Monday, July 12, 2010

Is Harder Boat Exam the Answer?

After only a few weeks into the first summer in which Canadian boaters are required to carry a Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) Card, the country's government is planning to make the associated test more difficult in 2011, according to CBC News.

While the motivation of this move is surely to increase boating safety, perhaps the move will encourage more Canadian boaters to take the exam this year while the test is still easier. More boaters taking the exam voluntarily means more revenue, right? It makes sense, and many boaters who have been putting it off, or who are planning to get their first boat in the next couple of years, may take the test now rather than later.
If you want to play along and make sure you're compliant, you can take the current "easier" exam online right now at
Of course, all boaters should be educated and trained to operate a boat before they get behind the wheel, but that's not the case in many states here in the US. In fact, the "and trained" part of that last statement isn't even required anywhere in the US and Canada for recreational boaters.

As we mentioned in May while telling you about a women-focused on-the-water training company, new boaters should seriously consider boating education outside the classroom - and we don't mean online. New boaters should have at least some hands-on training before getting behind the wheel of their boat, just like they get for a car. This fact was brought up again recently in our LinkedIn discussion group when USCG Licensed Master and ASA-Certified Sailing Instructor Captain Andrew Seligman shared an article from Professional Mariner. The piece focuses more on professional captains than recreational boaters, but it really brings home the dangerous fact that "You only have to be book smart to get a captain's license."

How do you feel about boating exams, online tests and on-the-water training? Comments welcome on the Daily Boater blog, or in our LinkedIn group.


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