I decided to take the Canadian boater's exam to get my personal craft operator card (PCOC) the other day, as the afternoon was a bit slow at the office. I printed the guide, read it a couple times, signed up with a co-worker as my supervisor and passed with "flying colours" (94%). In general , the test was extremely easy, with a couple trick questions that required a bit more concentration.
OK, enough bragging, I think the exam is a nice idea, but little more than a joke when it comes to the seriousness of what they (Transport Canada) are implementing.
To begin with, they are relying on individuals to "affirm" that they aren't cheating, when in fact, most people can easily cheat the system by taking the exam at a friend's house, or have someone else do the test for them. Stop and imagine what would happen if it was this easy to get a standard driver's license; I'm sure the roads would be a lot more dangerous than they actually are.
How do you give kids a license to operate jet skis and speedboats without even getiing in the boat to test their skills? When I called my wife to tell her I just got my operator card, her first question was "how did you go for your driver's test when the river is covered in ice?".
Transport Canada has taken a step in the right direction, but instead of trying to make all of us learn marine radio language, they would be better off setting up a real system such as we have in place for standard driver's licenses. Maybe it would prevent some of the tragedies we unfortunately hear about every summer.