How do I prepare to operate a boat at BMSC?

To operate small vessels (the Copes) at BMSC, Transport Canada requires the operator to have at a minimum a valid Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) and a valid, Marine Basic First Aid certificate or a provincially recognized  first aid course with a minimum of 16 hrs /2 days of training  is required  to operate BMSC Cope vessels. ‘In-person’ or ‘blended’ courses that meet the above criteria are acceptable.

Boat checkouts and safety training by BMSC foreshore staff are also required prior to the start of your course.

“Foreign boaters” should link to Transport Canada Visitor Information

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Students are not required to operate power boats if they do not wish to. Further, some courses do not involve the use of power boats. However, for many courses boat operation is encouraged, though not required. Students must obtain a PCOC certification, and a 16-hour, in-person First Aid course with CPR-C recognized in a Province or Territory (e.g. Red Cross, St. John’s) to be qualified to operate boats (about 40% of students do). Upon arrival at BMSC, students in possession of the required certifications are trained to use our power boats, and given the opportunity to practice boating skills prior to being given permission to take the boats outside the inlet.

There are also rowboats in the summer which may be used for recreation. You do not need a PCOC or first aid certification to operate rowboats.

Students must abide by the BMSC Boat Policy.

There is no moorage space available for personal boats.


Fall Program 2021 students:
We at the BMSC are excited to potentially offer full use of our Cope fleet for the 2021 Fall Program. This is based on B.C.’s Restart Plan and on B.C. Health Guidelines and restrictions being lifted prior to or during Fall Program. Once BC Health Guidelines permit, boat training and use will be provided to students who hold a valid PCOC certification and 2-day First Aid + CPR-C course (see above). It is necessary to obtain these certifications before arriving at BMSC for the start of the Fall Program, as it is not feasible once the program has begun. Operating boats at BMSC is entirely optional.