If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2012: Post 4 – Safe (motorized) boating

According to BOATsmart!® Canada:

If you operate any motorized recreational watercraft in Canada you are required to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, commonly known as a boat license. The boat Operator Card is required regardless of age, size of boat or engine horsepower. It's the law.

Although motorized, this is not a pleasure craft...

... but this is a motorized pleasure craft....
I expect the operator had his PCOC.

In order to obtain your PCOC, Transport Canada requires a minimum course of study and then an exam must be taken and passed.   I have known about this ‘boat license’ for some time now, but as a kayaker (non-motorized pleasure craft) I am not required to obtain it…

Last week I had a bit of downtime at work and so I got on-line to investigate exactly what was involved in obtaining the PCOC.  Turns out there are a lot of virtual schools that will allow you to do the course and take the exam from the comfort of your home.  Alternatively there are lots of places you can go to do the course in person.  I printed off the course manual from one of the sites and flipped through the pages.  Something about all that information (about 60 pages worth) caught my attention and I decided I would get my PCOC, irrespective of the fact it is not required for kayaking.

On Saturday morning past I woke up very early.  The weather was calling for a crappy day and I knew everyone in my house would not be up for a while.  So I made a cup tea, booted up the computer, found a Transport Canada accredited on-line school, paid my fee, and started the course.

The course I did is set up so that you can do one module of information (there were five of them), take the module quiz, log out, and then come back at a later date to do the next module.  I did not have to do it all at once, but I enjoyed progressing through the modules so much and just wanted to continue to the next module, and the next… After about four and a half hours, course modules and quizzes completed, and the Transport Canada exam passed, I printed out my temporary Pleasure Craft Operator Card.  My permanent card (which is good for life) will be mailed to me in a few weeks. 

So as a kayaker what was the point of getting my PCOC card?  Well, I figure as a person who spends time on the water any boating knowledge consumed must be beneficial.  Doing the course gave me a different perspective.  I now have at least some basic knowledge of what the motorized boaters are supposed to know; for instance the next time I paddle at night and I see those lights on a boat I will (hopefully) remember that the green one is on the starboard side, the red one is on the port side, and the white one is at the stern of the boat.  I also have a better upstanding of the rules of the (water) road…  By the way “all motorized crafts must take early and substantial action to stay clear of sailing crafts or active pleasure fishing crafts, paddle craft, canoes, and kayaks.” 

I still have no intention to own a motorized pleasure craft and most of the things I learned during the course are not directly applicable to my kayaking life.  But at least I have gained a little more knowledge of the boating world.  I just have to try to remember things I learned during the course and review the course manual periodically to refresh all that information that has been added to my mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment