As we enter the prime boating months of the year, you are going to want to make sure that your vessel is ready to hit the water. That means making sure your boat is in good working order. You are going to want to check your engine oil and perform any other routine maintenance. Additionally, you should make sure you have an ample supply of life jackets for you and your passengers. Lastly, perhaps most importantly, you are going to want to check to see if you have a valid Transport Canada Pleasure Craft License (PCL).
Your PCL is crucial to being able to operate your vessel in a manner that is compliant with Canadian law. Though the name can sound somewhat confusing, a PCL is not the same as a boating license–a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is the document that demonstrates your basic competency for operating a boat. A PCL instead applies directly to your boat, and as you read on, you will learn what is needed to obtain yours.
Who Needs a Transport Canada Pleasure Craft License?
Before you set out to obtain your Pleasure Craft License, you will first want to determine whether or not you actually need one. In Canada, any motorized vessel with an engine of 10 or more horsepower (8.5 kW) must acquire a PCL. While this is a requirement for some, even non-motorized vessels are eligible to obtain a PCL–and there is good reason to do so.
With a PCL, you receive a registration number. You may recognize this string of digits as they are commonly featured on the exteriors of boats. Specifically, this number must be displayed on both sides of the bow in block letters of at least three inches in height. A registration number makes your vessel easier to identify by rescue agencies and law enforcement, which could prove crucial in the event that your boat is stolen or goes missing.
Does Your Vessel Require Registration?
In Canada, you may need to register your vessel if your boating activities extend beyond simple leisure outings. More specifically, any vessel used for commercial purposes must be entered into the national registry. If you are planning to set sail abroad under the Canadian flag, you will also need to register your vessel. Individuals who opt to finance their boat with a marine mortgage–a fairly common occurrence–should also enter Transport Canada’s registry.
You can obtain your vessel registration or PCL by completing the necessary applications with Transport Canada. Each mode of licensing will require a bill of sale and additional supplemental items as well. You can save yourself time and energy by completing your application using a private service such as ours at the National Vessel Registry Center.
Apply for Your PCL Online
If you are ready to apply for your PCL, use our easy-to-complete web forms. We also use an SSL-encrypted web portal, so your information will be in safe hands. Please contact one of our helpful customer service agents by phone or email with any questions you may have.