Boat Registration Numbers: How Can You Get Them?

boat registration numbers

If you are toying with the idea of buying a boat, you probably have a lot on your mind. For one, there are so many different types available for purchase, from mega-yachts to small canoes, that just identifying what is right for you can take some work. You will also need to think about whether or not you will be buying a brand new boat. New vessels are often very expensive, and for this reason many choose to explore the secondary market. Once you have made a few determinations, though, you can begin the process of browsing the marketplace, which can be an exciting occasion. After you have located the boat of your dreams and have agreed to terms with the seller, you will likely be pretty antsy to get your vessel in the water. Well, as you load up your boat with snacks and supplies, you may also want to review your documentation with Transport Canada. If your vessel needs boat registration numbers, you are going to want to address that before you head out on the lake.

Registering a boat is, in many ways, fairly similar to registering a car. If you think about it, when you purchase a new vehicle, the onus is on you to get it documented with the correct authorities. As boats are large, powerful–and often expensive–items, it makes sense that a similar process needs to play out. When you document a boat, you do so with Transport Canada, which is the country’s primary transportation agency for all concerns on both land and sea. There is more than one way to document a boat, however.

Getting the Right Boat Registration Numbers

If your boat will be used for any sort of commercial means, you will need to apply for a vessel registration. This will also be the case if you financed your boat with a loan, or if you plan to travel internationally under the Canadian flag. A vessel registration will assign your boat an official number, which must be displayed on your boat’s interior. Only your vessel’s unique moniker will need to be shown on the exterior.

Most recreational boats with an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more will require a pleasure craft license (PCL). PCLs are, however, available to all boats. When you are granted a PCL, you will be given a registration number that is singular to your boat. This alphanumeric string of digits will need to be displayed on both sides of your boat’s bow in a position well above the waterline. You will also want to make sure your characters clearly contrast with your boat, and are at least three inches in height.

boat registration numbers

Register Your Boat Online

If you need a vessel registration or a PCL, you can apply online using our web forms. We offer easy-to-complete applications that allow you to submit what you need in just a matter of minutes. To learn more about how we can help you, spend a few minutes browsing our Frequently Asked Questions page.