How and Where Should the Pleasure Craft Number Be Displayed

It’s very important that, should you purchase a pleasure craft number, you have its documentation in place. After all, your pleasure craft licence will be the document that officially ties you to the vessel in legal ownership terms. Now, this process might come with a lot of trouble for a lot of people. You might be asking yourself a lot of questions about it. “How do I get my pleasure craft licence?” “What do I do once I get it?” “Where should the pleasure craft number be displayed?” These are all understandable, so let’s go over some of these matters.

Pleasure Craft Licence

Under Transport Canada’s boating documentation guidelines, a pleasure craft license is a document with a unique identifying number for a vessel, specifically, well, a pleasure craft. This allows you to have a distinct number attached to your vessel in order to properly identify it in situations such as searches and rescues, and qualifying personnel will be able to find and access relevant information in a quick and prompt manner. 

Obtaining Your Licence

In order to have a number to display on the boat, you will first have to get the license with the number. Now, all you need to do in order to get your own licence for your pleasure craft will be to apply for one. As part of this process, you will need to provide some contact information about yourself (or the owner, if you are acting on their behalf), as well as information about the boat itself. This will involve some sort of proof of ownership, most likely a bill of sale. Once you go through this process, you will eventually receive your pleasure craft licence with its pertinent data. Once you get this, you will be instructed to paint the number on the boat, which might lead you to wonder, “where should the pleasure craft number be displayed?”

Where Should the Pleasure Craft Number Be Displayed?

There are very particular guidelines that need to be taken into account at the time of properly displaying the pleasure craft number on your vessel. If you are not aware of where the pleasure craft number should be displayed or end up painting the digits on the wrong place, you might end up getting in trouble with the Transport Canada authorities. In order to avoid that, let’s make sure you have everything in order.

  • The license number needs to be displayed on both sides of the bow.
  • For obvious reasons, the number needs to be above the waterline.
  • The digits need to be written in block characters that are at least 7.5 centimetres (or 3 inches) high.
  • The colour of the letters needs to distinctly contrast with the colour of the bow

National Vessel Registry Center

If asking yourself where should the pleasure craft number be displayed, or getting the license itself is proving challenging, don’t worry. Our team here at the National Vessel Registry Center is here to help you with any process relevant to Transport Canada applications. Give us a call at +1 (800) 419-9569, email us at, or fill out the contact form on our website should you need any help.