We don’t have to tell you twice that New Brunswick has something for everyone, with over 1,000 lakes and 7,000 kilometres of magnificent coastline. But before you set sail this summer, check out our guide to boating in the province.

Q: Where is the best place to go boating in New Brunswick?

There are so many prime boating destinations across this province! If you’re looking for some travel inspiration, Discover Boating is an excellent resource for finding new waterways, rivers and lakes in New Brunswick, or you can check out our very own list of top locations to go boating in NB. Keep in mind that certain lakes that are part of provincial or national parks may not permit motorized boating. Make sure you check the rules before heading out on the water!

Q: Do I need to wear a lifejacket?

You do! Or at the very least you need to have an appropriately sized life-jacket available for everyone on board – it’ the law! You’re not legally required to wear a life jacket at all times in New Brunswick, but really there is no reason not to – it can save your life!

Q: Where are the best places to fish in New Brunswick?

New Brunswick, as a maritime province, is an angler’s paradise. Brook trout, white and yellow perch, sunfish and burbot are very popular in the waters of New Brunswick. Coming into Fall, New Brunswick becomes a prime province for anglers looking to catch trout and the king sportfish, Atlantic Salmon. A quick note on Atlantic Salmon though; they’re subject to poaching – so fish wisely, report any suspicious activity and make sure you have your anglers license before you cast!

Q: Am I qualified to go boating if I have a driver’s license?

No, you do not need a driver’s license to operate a boat in New Brunswick, however you do need a boat license. The need for a boat license to operate a motorized vessel in New Brunswick came into effect in 2009, and requires operators to carry proof of competency on board, otherwise known as a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. To get your PCOC, take a Transport Canada approved boating safety course.

Q: Do I need boat insurance in New Brunswick?

Boat insurance is not legally required for boaters in New Brunswick, but it is highly recommended, especially if the value of your boat exceeds $5,000. For more information on insuring your boat in New Brunswick, click here.

Q: Do I need a boat licence in New Brunswick?

A valid Pleasure Craft Operator Card (often referred to as a boat license) is required in all Canadian provinces, including New Brunswick, when operating motorized vessels. Boaters are legally required to carry their boat license regardless of their age, the size of their boat or engine horsepower. It’s the law. Boat operators in New Brunswick caught without their card face a minimum $250 fine. Your boat license, or PCOC, is however different to licensing your boat…

Q: What’s the difference between licensing a boat and getting my boating license?

Licensing your boat, often referred to as vessel licensing or registration, refers to the unique ID number that must be displayed on your boat, much like the registration plate on a car. You only need to license your boat if it meets certain criteria, however this is not to be confused with your personal boat license – or Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). There are also differences between getting your boat licensed and getting it registered – both have different criteria which every boat owner needs to be aware of. Not every boat requires a license (or registration) but every driver of a motorized boat must carry a valid PCOC on board at all times in order to avoid getting fined, and to stay safe on the water!

Q: How long does it take to get my New Brunswick boat licence?

It takes a minimum of 3-5 hours to complete the boat license course from any Transport Canada approved provider. The Pleasure Craft Operator Card exam is available online and can be completed in your own time. When you pass the test, you will receive your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) as proof of competency to operate a motorized boat in New Brunswick. Your boat license is also valid on all Canadian waterways!

Q: What if I don’t pass the boat license exam?

Don’t panic if you don’t pass your boat license exam. You can re-take the test free of charge until you are confident in the knowledge that you understand the rules and regulations of Canadian waterways, and successfully complete the course. The really good news is that after passing your exam you will receive a temporary boat license – allowing you to get out on the water immediately!

Q: What age do I have to be to drive a boat in New Brunswick?

There is no minimum age to drive a boat or obtain your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) in New Brunswick, but there are supervision requirements and horsepower restrictions for young boaters. Click here to learn more about the age restrictions for various types of vehicles on the water.

Q: Do I need a licence to drive a jet-ski?

A boat license is legally required for all motorized vehicles on the water – and that includes jet-skis or any other personal watercraft! No matter what kind of vessel you’re in charge of, make sure that you are carrying your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) or boat license with you at all times.

Q: Where Is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) valid?

Your boat license or PCOC is valid in each province of Canada, including New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Q: What is the fine for operating without your card?

Not having your boat license on board with you while driving a motorized boat in New Brunswick will result in a fine of $250, excluding administrative charges. Click here to learn more about boating fines in New Brunswick.

Q: Who enforces these laws?

The boating laws and regulations will be enforced by peace officers, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), provincial and municipal police forces and other local authorities. Officers may inspect your boat and monitor your activities at any time to ensure that you are in compliance with boating laws. You can expect to see these officers on the lakes and rivers throughout the province, so make sure the captain of your boat is carrying their Pleasure Craft Operator Card, as well as proof of age, with them at all times – no excuses.

Sign up for your boat license and get out on the water today! If you have a question about boating in New Brunswick, get in touch!


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