When you own your own boat, you are, in some ways, the master of your own destiny. At just a moment’s notice, you have the freedom to venture down to the marina, load up your boat, and head out to sea for hours on end. For many, the sense of liberation that comes with boat ownership makes up most of the allure, and being able to share the experience with your friends, family, and loved ones only goes to sweeten the deal. Still, boats are considerable investments, and they merit quite a bit of responsibility as well. As a boat owner, staying on top of your vessel registration forms is a must, as it ensures the continued legal operation of your boat in accordance with Canadian law.
The reasons for maintaining vessel documentation are multiple, and it does serve a valuable purpose. Most boat registration and license matters are handled by Transport Canada, which is the nation’s primary transportation agency. As a part of this agency’s role, they manage all of Canada’s waterways, which means crafting regulations and taking measures to protect the environment. By registering your boat or obtaining a license, you are acting in compliance with Transport Canada, allowing them to continue protecting our waters for the enjoyment of future generations.
Obtaining a Pleasure Craft License
Determining which mode of Transport Canada vessel documentation you will require depends largely on your boat and, more specifically, what it is used for. One of the more common documents obtained by Canadian boat owners is the Pleasure Craft License (PCL). A PCL, as its name rightly suggests, is applicable to vessels being used for leisure purposes. Your boat will require a PCL if it has an engine of 8.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more, though they are available to all.
You can apply for a PCL by working with us at the National Vessel Registry Center. We have easy-to-use online forms and an SSL-encrypted web portal, so you can complete your application and upload your supplemental materials with ease. To successfully apply for a PCL, make sure you have a bill of sale and a full-size, side profile photograph of your vessel.
Completing Vessel Registration Forms
If you are going to be using your boat for any sort of commercial purpose, you will need to enter it into the Small Vessel Registry. This is also true for boats traveling abroad under the Canadian flag, as well as any vessel financed by a marine mortgage. When your vessel is registered, you will be given a completely unique official name, and you will no longer need to apply for or renew, a PCL.
To register your vessel, you must complete a “Form 1 – Application for Registry” with Transport Canada. Fortunately, we offer a streamlined version of this form on our website. You can also upload your tonnage measurement, proof of ownership, and photographs of all four sides of your vessel. If you would like to learn more about our services, take a moment or two to browse our FAQ page.