You don’t have to be a duck to enjoy the freedom of landing on Canada’s waterways.
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 to their licence. 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.
Although there are some seaplanes available for rent, most seaplane pilots own their aircraft. Seaplanes can be built from plans or kits.
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 provides information on the hundreds of 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.
Flying a seaplane is the ultimate expression of “freedom to fly.”