An Explainer on Licensing a Boat in Ontario

Licensing a Boat in Ontario

There are a number of reasons why a boater would choose to visit Ontario. Actually, there are about 250,000 of them–that’s how many freshwater lakes fall within the borders of this Canadian province. Home to about one-fifth of the entire world’s freshwater supply, Ontario is a boater’s paradise unlike any other. Whether you are a resident of Ontario, or if you are looking to visit, owning your own boat is the only true way to experience these pristine Canadian waterways. Of course, choosing to purchase a boat of your own is not typically a decision that is arrived at lightly. For starters, you may need to work a few extra hours to save the funds necessary to purchase a watercraft. You will also want to perform a fair amount of due diligence in order to determine which manufacturer and make is right for your boating needs. With an idea of what you want in mind, you can begin browsing online and print listings for new or previously owned vessels. Once you locate a seller and manage to negotiate a fair price, you are very nearly ready to launch your boat in the lake of your choosing. Before you pack up your cooler for a day on the water, however, you will also want to have a firm understanding of what goes into licensing a boat in Ontario.

While a boat can unlock hours of free time and relaxation, operating one requires a degree of responsibility. Before you can safely take your friends and family out to make a few waves, you will want to have a thorough understanding of how to operate a motorized vessel. In Canada, this typically means acquiring a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC), which is often referred to as a boating license. You can think of this document as a maritime companion to a driver’s license, and the process of obtaining one is much the same. You will need to take a brief educational course and pass a subsequent exam to get your PCOC. While this document is a good starting point, you may also need to acquire a pleasure craft license (PCL) from Transport Canada. Different from a PCOC, a boat license applies instead to your vessel itself. Fortunately, by working with us at the National Vessel Registry Center, you may find that licensing a boat in Ontario is a breeze, as our online forms make it easy to do with just a few clicks. Read on to learn more.

Licensing a Boat: Is it Required by Law?

During your time as a boat owner, you can expect to work with Transport Canada from time to time. This government agency is tasked with managing and regulating all transportation matters on both land and sea. One of Transport Canada’s cornerstone duties is protecting and monitoring our waterways, ensuring that our lakes and coastlines are intact for the enjoyment of future generations of Canadian boat owners. One way in which they carry out this responsibility is by issuing boat licenses and vessel registrations. Which mode of documentation you require will largely come down to the size of your vessel and what you plan to use it for.

A pleasure craft license, as its name would imply, is primarily applicable to boats that are used for leisure activities. More precisely, a PCL is required for any pleasure craft featuring an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more. Once issued, your PCL will provide you with a registration number, which must be displayed on the exterior of your vessel on both sides of your bow. You will want to show your numbers in a colour that clearly contrasts with your boat in letters of at least three inches in height.

To obtain your PCL, there is a formal application process that you will need to complete. First, you will want to fill out a pleasure craft license application with Transport Canada. This document will prompt you for some basic details about yourself as well as your vessel. You will also need to submit proof of ownership, which is often accomplished with a bill of sale. Transport Canada will also ask for a full-size photograph of your boat as a part of your application package. You can apply for a PCL by visiting Transport Canada’s website, locating the correct forms, downloading them, printing them out, inking them by hand, and returning them to the proper office location in Ottawa.

 Licensing a Boat in Ontario

An Easier Way to Get Your PCL

There is, of course, an easier way to get your PCL. By working with us, you can use our easy-to-fill web forms and SSL-encrypted portal to process your application with just a few clicks. We also offer online forms for a number of other Transport Canada paperwork concerns. To learn more, click around a bit on our website and make sure you explore it.