An Explainer on the Canadian Boat Bill of Sale

Boat Bill of Sale

In Canada, there are not many pastimes more enjoyable than boating. With our thousands of lakes, countless rivers, and endless miles of coastline, Canada is home to some of the most beautiful, pristine waterways on Earth. When you own your own boat, you have the freedom to launch your boat whenever the mood strikes you, allowing you to create lasting memories with your family and loved ones. Of course, boats can be rather expensive items, and brand-new vessels especially will carry a high price tag. For this reason, there is an active secondary market in Canada for boats, and by purchasing a used vessel you can potentially snag a great deal. In order to do this, you will need to perform a bit of research and browse online listings until you find the right boat for you. Once your offer is accepted, there will be some paperwork to complete, one item of which is the boat bill of sale. Once your documents have been processed with Transport Canada, however, you are ready to set sail.

One aspect of boating that many find to be alluring is that it can be a lifelong hobby. People of all ages can find something enjoyable about an afternoon out on the water. As your life grows and changes, though, you may find that your boating needs shift and evolve as well. Maybe you will find yourself needing a larger vessel. Perhaps the kids are off at school and you can downsize? Whether you are looking to purchase a new boat or sell your current watercraft, it is a prudent maneuver to understand how a boat bill of sale works. By having a solid, foundational knowledge of how the paperwork in a boat transaction should look, you can allow for a smoother, more seamless deal to take place.

What is a Canadian Boat Bill of Sale?

So, you are all set to buy or sell a boat and you find yourself staring down a stack of paperwork. You may not know where to begin. Well, a good starting point would be to draw up your bill of sale. You can think of this document as a more detailed version of a receipt. Not too fundamentally dissimilar from the printed one you would get at the grocery store, a bill of sale will have some additional information about the boat involved, the buyer, the seller, and the agreed-upon price. Also, you should note that not all bills of sale are created equal, and the specific form you need will depend on how your boat is licensed or registered.

In Canada, most recreational vessels carry what is called a Pleasure Craft License (PCL). A PCL is required for any boat with an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more. Any vessel can obtain a PCL, however, and many who are outside of the required parameters opt to do so because it gives your vessel a registration number. For a boat carrying a PCL, any sale will require the seller to sign over the PCL and provide a bill of sale. There is no specific Transport Canada document for this, and you can either create your own or use an existing template on the web. At the National Vessel Registry Center, we offer an easy-to-use, streamlined web form for this purpose. 

What if Your Vessel is Registered?

Any boat that is used for commercial purposes in Canada will require entry in the Small Vessel Registry. Vessels that carry marine mortgages as well as those traveling internationally under the Canadian flag will also need to obtain a registration. When you register your vessel with Transport Canada, you will receive an official number as well as a completely unique name (of your choosing) for your boat. Much like PCLs, vessel registration is available to all boaters.

When a registered vessel is bought or sold, a Form 6 – Bill of Sale must be processed with Transport Canada. This document will ask for some basic details about the boat involved (its name and official number), as well as the buyer and seller. You can complete this document by visiting Transport Canada’s website, downloading a PDF file, printing it out, completing it by hand, and mailing it in for processing.

Boat Bill of Sale

Complete Your Bill of Sale Online

You can also draft your Form 6 – Bill of Sale by working with us at the National Vessel Registry Center. We offer a simple, fillable web form that allows you to draft and process your bill of sale with just a few clicks. We also offer a host of other helpful web forms for all your Transport Canada needs. To learn more, take a minute or two to browse our website, or contact us by phone or email today.