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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What qualifications do I need to operate a Pleasure Craft? - For any motorized pleasure craft (even if the engine isn't running), you need to have 'proof of competency'. This can take a number of forms. The most common is the Pleasure Craft Operator's card, or PCOC. Details of how to get your PCOC are here. For questions about the PCOC and other types of 'proof of competency' check out PCOC FAQ's by Canadian Power & Sail Squadron), or this Transport Canada webpage. For operators under 16, there are also horsepower restrictions. See Transport Canada's Safe Boating Guide on our Links page for more details.
  • I took a Boating course before April 1999, do I need to take the PCOC course? - Your Boating Course documentation counts as proof of competency. However if you have not been boating for a while, you might want to brush up on your charting and other aspects of the course. If you are a member you can sit in on some of our Boating 2 & 3 classes, although we cannot supply any materials (manuals, charts, plotter, etc.) unless you sign up and pay for the entire course.
  • I have my PCOC, why should I take the Boating course? - The PCOC ensures you know the very basics of boating. It does not cover things like reading a chart, navigation, advanced collision regulations, Tides and Currents, etc. These are all things you need to know for safe boating around Campbell River. See our Boating 2 & 3 course page for details of what you will learn. Also, taking the Boating Course may enable you to get a discount on your insurance.
  • I have a chart plotter, why should I learn chartwork? - The first parts of chartwork, reading a chart and plotting courses, are the basis for using a chart plotter effectively. For example, if you don't know the symbol for a submerged rock that is dangerous to you, a plotter will likely not help you if you are in danger of running aground on it. ("likely" because some plotters can be configured to warn you of a danger, but first you must understand draft and and tides.) GPS plotters can break or lock up, electrical power can be lost, saltwater or other moisture can get inside. GPS signals are very weak and can easily be disrupted or jammed, accidentally or on purpose. Paper charts don't need power and can get you safely where you need to go, if you know how to use them. And this is only part of what you will learn if you take our Boating 2 & 3 course.
  • Do I need paper charts on board? - Generally the answer is yes, but there are two exceptions. The first is if the vessel is equipped with ECDIS (a sophisticated electronic navigation system, much more complex than a chart plotter). The second exemption is for vessels under 100 tons; where the operator has sufficient knowledge of shipping routes, lights, buoys, marks and hazards, as well as tides and currents. If the reason you are talking to government officials or your insurance company is because you accidentally ran aground, you will find it difficult to argue that you didn't need charts because of your local knowledge. Charts need to be up to date. See the Introduction to Charts articles on our On the Water page for more info on correcting them.
  • I've lost my PCOC card, which I got through Power Squadron. How to I get a new one? - You need to get in touch with our national office. Link here.
  • What qualifications do I need if I have a VHF radio in my boat? - You need a Radio Operator's certificate (marine) [ROC(M)]. Even if your radio is switched off, you are legally required to have this certificate. See our ROC course page for details on how to get it.
  • My new VHF radio has a red button. What is that for? - That is a distress button, used by the GMDSS system. If you have an older restricted operator's licence certificate, which didn't cover GMDSS, you will need to upgrade to the new certificate. See our ROC course page for details on how to get it. Your new radio will also require an MMSI. If the radio is second hand, you need to update its MMSI information. See our links page (in the Regulatory Information section) for the Industry Canada website for background and to obtain the forms.
  • I just received my ROC(M) card, which I got through Power Squadron, but the details are wrong. How to I get it corrected? - You need to get in touch with our national office. Link here. If you wait more than 6 months to do this, they will charge a fee.
  • I've lost my ROC(M) card, which I got through Power Squadron. How to I get a new one? - You need to get in touch with our national office. Link here.
  • Do I need a call sign or Radio Station Licence for my boat? - For a pleasure craft staying in Canadian Waters, you shouldn't need one. Check out Transport Canada's FAQ for more information.
  • What happens if I don't have proof of competency or my ROC(M) card, when I should have one or both? - Under the Contraventions Act you can be ticketed for each shortfall. And the amounts are not small: $250 for failure to carry required Proof of Competency, $200 for operating without appropriate sized PFD (or lifejacket), plus $100 for each additional missing PFD, etc. The list of offences where hefty fines can be imposed is quite long.
  • Membership, what are the advantages? - You may get lower rates with some national companies. See National website for details. There are also discounts available from some of Ripple Rock's sponsors. See our latest Ripples Newsletter for a list of our sponsors. Membership allows you to sit in on classes to refresh your knowledge. You can also be part of our social gatherings and cruises. There are associate and regular memberships available. Contact our Membership Officer for more information or go direct to our National Website to sign up or renew.
  • How can I find out what activities are going on within Ripple Rock Squadron? - The website's calendar will show dates and places for activities. You can also get on our contact list for e-mail updates by advising the Webmaster.
  • Is Ripple Rock on Facebook? Yes, it is a closed group for Ripple Rock members to post pictures, tips, interesting boating articles or links. And if you are heading out and want to meet up, feel free to post these notices on our Facebook page also. To locate the Facebook page, search for "Ripple Rock Power & Sail Squadron - Campbell River" and click join.
  • I'm looking for information on local knowledge. Can you help? - If you take our Boating 2 & 3 course, our instructors will be passing along local knowledge as part of your instruction. During the course, you will also have the opportunity to ask your specific questions. Our On the Water page has Marine related articles, many with a Campbell River perspective.
  • I'm looking for information on present conditions. Can you help? - Check out our links for Campbell River area weather, tide and currents, as well as Navigation Notices (to ensure your charts are up to date) and Regulatory information (to ensure your equipment is up to date).
  • I'd like to help out on the Bridge, or instructing with Power Squadron. How to I go about it? - We are always looking for more help. The pay is lousy, but the company is great. Contact the Squadron Commander for more information..