Canadian Pleasure Craft Licence Vs. Registration: Learn The Difference

pleasure craft license

Have you been unsure whether your vessel needs to be registered or you should get a Canadian pleasure craft license? Does it seem like there isn’t much difference between the two? The truth is that there are very large differences between them. In fact, you can only get one or the other, you can’t get both. While it may seem a bit confusing at first, with just a bit of information, you’ll be able to get the right form of licensing or registration for your Canadian vessel. 

Who Needs Registration 

Much of determining whether you need a pleasure craft license or registration comes down to: “how are you going to use the vessel?” Not to answer a question with another question, but, are you going to use it to make money, or are you going to use it to have a good time? There’s more to it than that, but that’s the basic, fundamental question beneath registration vs. licensing. For example, if you’re going to use your vessel in a commercial capacity, with passengers who paid to be on board, as well as people who are on board as part of their job (in addition to the crew) then your vessel should be registered. Similarly, you should register your vessel if it’s operated by the government (whether federal or provincial) as well as if you’re going to use it to provide a service. 

pleasure craft license

Who Needs a Canadian Pleasure Craft License 

Pleasure craft, on the other hand, isn’t used for commerce. Rather, they’re used to having fun. Maybe you’re going to use your vessel to go out on the water with family and friends, or maybe you’re using it to water ski or something of that ilk. Then, you should get a pleasure craft license. If you’re going to fish for fun, then get a pleasure craft license. (If you were to catch fish and then sell them, of course, you may be using it to provide a service or as part of a job – which could mean that registration is the right course of action.) 

Who Needs the Small Vessel Registry 

If your vessel measures more than 15 gross tonnes and has an engine of 7.5 kilowatts (or ten horsepower) or above, then you’re going to want to register it. However, if you’re going to use a vessel that’s smaller than that in a commercial capacity, then you’re probably still going to want to get it registered. However, you would register it through the “Small Vessel Register.” 

All the Licensing and Registration You’ll Need 

We understand that for many vessel owners (particularly first-time vessel owners) this can all seem a bit much. To that end, we’re always glad to answer any of your questions. Registry also offers benefits licensing does not, such as reserved names, benefits if you travel outside of Canada, and much more. That said, you can find all of the forms you’ll need for each of the above licensing, registration, and more all at our site.