Seaplane Rating

Expand your horizons…

Earning your Seaplane Rating will open new opportunities to explore Canada – lakes, rivers, secluded bays and harbours will all be within reach.

Landing on water is challenging however and no more so than on the west coast of British Columbia. The water’s surface condition must be read, boat and marine traffic must be accounted for and avoided, water depth must be read, in water and out of water obstructions must be identified, and boating skills must be mastered to dock, ramp and beach a seaplane. These challenges are compounded when combined with the vagaries of the ocean, west coast weather and alpine considerations.

Sealand Flight’s training follows Transport Canada recommendations but provides more than just the basic requirements of the Seaplane Rating. Our instructors are very experienced, professional west coast pilots who will teach pilots how to safely operate a seaplane in any environment and conditions that may be encountered in BC in this 15 hour course.

We also offer a 50 hour Seaplane Course for those considering a career on floats.

Rating Requirements

Pilots must have a minimum of a valid Recreational Pilot Permit or Private Pilot Licence to take this course and a minimum of 85 hours Total Time.

Transport Canada requirements for the issuance of a Seaplane Rating are:


No ground school or written test is required however it may be beneficial to read the chapter on float flying in the Flight Training Manual as well as the Instructor Guide – Seaplane Rating (link below under Skill).

Other recommended reading:

  • How to Fly Floats by JJ Frey
  • Flying a Seaplane Paperback by Marin Faure
  • Ditching Principles: Survival Guide to Ditching an Aircraft by Bry the Dunker Guy


An applicant for a seaplane rating shall complete a total of 7 hours of seaplane training, including:

  • a minimum of 5 hours dual instruction, and
  • a minimum of 5 takeoffs and landings as sole occupant of the aeroplane, except for two crew aircraft, in which case the takeoffs and landings shall be done as pilot-in-command.

 The following exercises shall be included in the seaplane training:

  • taxiing,
  • sailing,
  • docking,
  • takeoffs,
  • landings, and
  • as conditions exist, operations on glassy water, rough water and in crosswind conditions.


Within the 12 months preceding the date of application for a seaplane rating, an applicant shall have successfully completed a qualifying flight under the supervision of a Transport Canada Inspector or a person qualified in accordance with CAR 425.21(6) by demonstrating the level of skill specified in the Instructor Guide – Seaplane Rating.

A copy of the Instructor Guide – Seaplane Rating can be found here.

Seaplane Rating Instruction

Flight Instruction

Training will initiate and end at the Campbell River Spit though most of the basic exercises will be taught in nearby lakes. The instruction will be progressive and as each manoeuvre is mastered, the setting will be changed to one more challenging but indicative to what may be experienced on the west coast.

All exercises will begin with ground instruction and a pre-flight briefing. Exercises will include:

Planning and Preparation

  • Estimating Aircraft Performance     
  • Seaplane Bases, Rules, and Aids to Marine Navigation     
  • Fuelling the Aircraft  
  • Pre-Flight Inspection 
  • Passenger Safety Briefing     
  • Starting Engine         

Water Handling

  • Displacement Taxiing
  • Plowing Taxiing        
  • Step Taxiing   
  • Sailing
  • Docking         
  • Beaching        
  • Mooring         
  • Abnormal Water Handling Situations


  • Normal Take-off       
  • Glassy Water Take-off         
  • Crosswind Take-off   
  • Engine Failure After Take-off

Approach and Landing

  • Power-On and Power-Off Approach and Landing         
  • Crosswind Approach and Landing     
  • Approach and Landing Over an Obstacle
  • Glassy Water Approach and Landing
  • Recovery from Abnormal Landing Situations

Advanced Exercises

  • Ramping        
  • Short Run Take-off    
  • Rough Water Take-off
  • Confined Area Take-off        
  • Rough Water Approach and Landing 
  • Step Turns