Boating – OVERVIEW

FOCA supports the safe and responsible operation of all watercraft and other related activities by:

  • Promoting education and communication on boating issues
  • Partnering with organizations to provide boater education
  • Alerting cottagers about general boating safety and related issues

FOCA encourages all boaters to learn the basics of boat safety and how to operate a boat before you get out on the water.

We are lucky to have thousands of beautiful lakes and rivers to enjoy in Ontario, and boating is an important part of our  heritage and history. Boating allows for an appreciation of our natural areas, and can be a great family activity.  We have a shared responsibility as boaters to keep our waterways safe and clean.

There are many things we can do to lower our impact as individual boaters such as make wise choices in marine power, and be sensitive to near-shore habitats. Keep in mind that conventional two-stroke marine engines in boats and personal watercraft emit proportionally more volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other air pollutants than more fuel efficient, direct injection two-stroke and four-stroke engines.

Boat operation can also impact the sensitive shorelines, and can directly impact the success of important species, including the loon. Protecting loon nesting sites and nursery areas, especially during the breeding season, can make a difference.  For boaters, we should be mindful of our wakes as they can impact wildlife, shoreline erosion as well as create considerable havoc on neighbouring boats and docks.

Pleasure Craft Operator Card

Everyone who operates a power-driven boat needs proof of competency — something that shows they understand the basic rules and how to safely operate a boat. The most common proof of competency is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. You can get the card by taking a boating safety course in-person or online, and passing the test at the end of the course. Read more from Transport Canada’s Question & Answer webpage.

Need your Pleasure Craft Operator Card? Our partners at Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons offer an online course; and FOCA members get a discount this Spring and Summer!



To learn about the canoe’s link to Canada’s rich cultural heritage and unique landscape, and discover the enduring significance of the canoe to the people of Canada, you can visit the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Michelle LewinBoating – OVERVIEW