Do You Know Which Vessel License You Need?

Vessel License

Are you looking for a way to unwind from the stresses of daily life? Do you have a passion for the outdoors, spending as much time as you can in the open air? If so, you may want to give boat ownership a shot. With your very own boat, you can go out cruising whenever your heart desires, bringing your friends, family, and loved ones along for the ride. Making lasting memories out in nature may make boating the ideal pastime for you. When it comes to recreational vessels, there are not many better backdrops than Canada. With thousands of miles of coastline, hundreds of thousands of lakes, and countless rivers, our nation has an abundance of waterways that you can explore with your boat. Before you finalize the purchase of a vessel and untie from the dock, however, you are going to want to make sure that you have the proper vessel license Canada from Transport Canada.

As Canada’s main transportation agency for all issues of both land and sea, Transport Canada carries out a number of important duties. One such responsibility that this agency takes seriously is preserving our waterways so that future Canadians can enjoy them. They do this by crafting legislation and keeping a registry of who and what is out on our waters. Transport Canada is also the agency that will issue you a vessel license Canada, should your boat require it. Read on to learn more about how you can get the vessel documentation you need online using our simplified web forms.

What is a Vessel License?

Purchasing a boat is a major decision, and oftentimes, a sizable investment. You may have had to save for months, or even years before finally taking the plunge and buying your own boat. Additionally, you had to perform a fair amount of research in order to determine what sort of vessel suited your needs. With a certain type of boat in mind, you then scoured listings in both print and digital media, looking for just the right vessel. If you were lucky enough to locate the boat of your dreams and made an offer that the seller deemed acceptable, you are probably antsy to get your new vessel out on the water. First, however, you will need to make sure that your paperwork is in good order with Transport Canada.

A boat license, officially known as a Pleasure Craft License (PCL), documents your vessel with Transport Canada. Any motorized vessel with an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more will require a PCL, though they are available to anyone who wants one. Once issued, your PCL will provide you with a registration number that you will need to affix to both sides of your boat’s bow. Your number should be displayed in characters of at least three inches in height, and their color should contrast starkly with your boat’s exterior. A PCL is valid for a period of 10 years, at which point you can request a renewal.

To obtain your boat license, you will need to complete an application with Transport Canada. Additionally, you will need to submit a bill of sale to serve as proof of ownership, and a full-size photograph of your vessel. At the National Vessel Registry Center, we offer an online form that you can use to apply for your PCL with just a few clicks.

What is Vessel Registration?

While a PCL will be sufficient for most boat owners, others will require what is known as vessel registration. Any boat that is used for commercial means or that will be traveling abroad under the Canadian flag will need to apply for vessel registration. This is also true for any boat that is financed with a marine mortgage, which is a fairly common practice.

You can apply for vessel registration by submitting Form 1 – Application for Vessel Registration and Form 3 – Statement of Qualification to Transport Canada. You will also need to submit a tonnage measurement and photographs of all four sides of your boat. Once issued, your vessel will be designated a wholly unique, distinct name of your choosing and an official number. When you have a vessel registration, you no longer will need to apply for or renew a pleasure craft license. 

Vessel License

How to Get Your Vessel Documentation Online

Whether you need a vessel license or a registration, you can visit Transport Canada’s website and locate the appropriate PDF applications. You can then download them, print them out, ink them by hand, and mail them back to Transport Canada’s offices in Ottawa for processing. Of course, there is also an easier solution. At the National Vessel Registry Center, we are a private service that offers fillable web forms for all of your Transport Canada documentation needs. To learn more about our services, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page today.