Canada Seaplane / amphibian rating

Anyone setting out to obtain a seaplane rating has only to look at a map of Canada to see the world they are about to open up for themselves. It is a world of lakes, rivers, channels, sounds, inlets, bays, reaches, bights, harbours, arms, and whatever else is used to name a body of water. Beyond the geography, there is the history. Much of the history of aviation in this country, and the history of a lot of communities, was written with seaplanes.

All you need for the enjoyment of flying from Canada’s waterways is a sense of adventure, some training and a float-equipped airplane (seaplane). Canada has more places to “land” a seaplane than any other country in the world.

Recreational Permit, Private or Commercial Pilot Licence holders may add a Seaplane Rating by taking a course with one of the:

schools listed on COPA’s Web site.

It is recommended but not necessary to use a certified flight instructor for the training. Any commercial pilot with a seaplane rating can be an instructor.

The minimum required flying time is seven hours, which includes at least five solo take-offs and landings. However, it typically takes more than ten hours. There is no formal ground school, written examination or flight test. All that is needed is a recommendation form, signed by the instructor, for the endorsement. Complete pilot licence courses on floats are also available and this is a great way to accomplish two qualifications at the same time.

Ultralight seaplanes assembled from kits have become popular. There is no formal float flying training requirements for ultralight pilots but it is highly recommended.

The Water Aerodrome Supplement (available from many pilot supply shops)  provides information on the several water aerodromes in Canada where services are available but most public waterways are useable at the pilot’s discretion.

The exceptions are national parks and some provincial parks and wilderness areas, as well the centre of defined navigation channels, such as canals.