A Guide on Registering a Boat for the First Time

Registering a Boat

Has it been a longtime dream of yours to own your very own boat? Have you finally decided that now is the time to turn your fantasy of boat ownership into a reality? If so, this can be a profoundly exciting time in your life. Of course, the road to getting out on the water can be a little complicated. First, you will have to do the necessary research to determine which type of boat is right for you. Then, you will need to browse listings both online and in print materials to locate the boat of your dreams. From there, you will want to negotiate a fair price with the seller before closing the deal. With the keys to your new vessel in your hands, you are ready to launch–but first, you will have some Transport Canada paperwork to complete, and it is probably wise to learn about the process of registering a boat for the first time, especially if you are new to the world of boat ownership.

If you think back to purchasing your first car, what did that process look like? Before you were able to get behind the wheel, you first had to secure a driver’s license and a motor vehicle registration. As boats share similar responsibilities, it should not come as much of a surprise that you will have similar documents to obtain. In Canada, a boating license is called a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) and is acquired by taking an educational course and passing a competency exam. A registration can come in a couple of options, namely in the form of either a Pleasure Craft License (PCL) or a vessel registration.

What to Know About Registering a Boat

For most boaters in Canada, a PCL will be satisfactory in terms of the necessary documentation with Transport Canada. To be more precise, a PCL is required for any boat containing an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more, though they are available to all boats. In some cases, however, it may be necessary for a boat to enter the Small Vessel Registry. Specifically, this is required for any vessel carrying a marine mortgage, engaging in the commercial activity of any kind, or traveling abroad under the Canadian flag. Like PCLs, vessel registration is also available to all boat owners.

To register your vessel, you will need to complete Form 1 – Application for Registry. You will also need to submit a Form 3 – Statement of Qualification for Vessel Registration, and potentially a Form 6 – Bill of Sale. You will also need to provide a tonnage measurement, as well as photographs of all four sides of your vessel. You can complete these forms by hand, or by working with a private service such as ours at the National Vessel Registry Center.

Registering a Boat

Complete Your Registration Application Online!

You can use our easy-to-fill web forms to submit your vessel registration application online. Simply locate the forms you need within our streamlined navigation menu. If you have any questions, please contact one of our customer service agents by phone or email, or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more.