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Old 04-20-2017, 08:07 AM   #1
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Cruising in foreign countries with license requirements

How is the situation handled when a recreational boater wants to cruise in a foreign country that has license requirements that they might not meet?

For example, I think Canada expects recreational boaters to have a "boating license". So, if an American skipper wants to cruise in Canada how is this managed? Is there some exception for non-Canadian skippers?

This same question could apply to a lot of different countries.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:58 AM   #2
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We've entered 47 different countires or territories by boat and the question or issue has never come up. New Zealand and the Replublic of South Africa have very strict rules for resident boater education but for us and the other cruisers we met, it never came up.
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:06 AM   #3
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Boating and the US/Canada Border | The Great Lakes Cruising Club
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:23 AM   #4
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As noted, when in Canada for more than 45 days a non resident is required to have the boater training card.

Vessel size above 20 meters (or so) and registry can trigger a number of requirements. I'm not aware of this being an issue when traveling in Canada, but best to check if traveling out of country.

I know of an instance where a foreign flagged vessel of 80 feet or so got nabbed in Alaska when skipper lacked proper class certification papers.
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:43 AM   #5
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This is what Transport Canada says on their FAQ page:

Do the Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations apply to non-residents?
The Regulations apply to non-residents if:
  • They operate their pleasure craft in Canadian waters for more than 44 consecutive days or,
  • They operate a pleasure craft that is licensed or registered in Canada (including rented or chartered boats).
The Regulations do not apply to non-residents who operate their pleasure craft (licensed in a country other than Canada) in Canadian waters for less than 45 consecutive days. Please note that a proof of residence will be required on board at all times.
If you require more information on how Canadian requirements apply to non-residents visit the Requirements for Foreign Recreational Boaters In Canadian Waters.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:55 AM   #6
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For anyone who has transited the Trent-Severn Waterway and experienced the local rental houseboat skippers, it is clear that compliance/enforcement of Canadian competency requirements is less than stringent...
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:10 AM   #7
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The equivalent to a boater card is acceptable if your state issues them. Also note that safety equipment standards are higher, number of flares etc. but you don't need to upgrade if under the 45 day limit.
I was stopped by the USCG off Niagara once and they had both sets of rules aboard. They hauled out the Canadian rules for my vessel check.
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvd View Post
For anyone who has transited the Trent-Severn Waterway and experienced the local rental houseboat skippers, it is clear that compliance/enforcement of Canadian competency requirements is less than stringent...
What is totally staggering is that the competency card is required when you own a boat but not if you rent one. When renting a boat the rental contract/checklist act as your competency card. So in other word, you are required to know what you are doing if you own a boat but not when you rent it...
Anyway this competency card is just a joke, you get it by passing an exam on the web without never having been on a boat. They give you 45 min to answer their questions, I did it in 15 minutes. While some questions are relevant, like the ones about buoys or priorities when crossing each other, some are total jokes. How many flares do you need aboard? While I am conscious about security, knowing how many flares I need will not help me handling the boat correctly and I can find the information anytime. This card is better than nothing but compared with some other countries, like France for example, it is a very very light requirement.

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