If you own a boat and like spending time on the water in Canada, you may have considered renaming your vessel at some point. In some cases, you may want to rename a boat because you’ve just added to your family and want to involve them in your boating adventures; in others, you may wish to change your boat’s name because you’ve grown out of it. Regardless of your motivation, you must understand the legal steps required to rename a yacht in Canada. Because changing the name of a vessel may have repercussions from a legal standpoint, you should get the advice of an attorney specializing in maritime law before taking any action. Having stated that the following are some considerations that should be kept in mind:
Check to See if the New Name Is Already Taken
Otherwise, the Registrar of Boats will mark it as a duplicate, and you will not be permitted to use it. You may still be allowed to use the name even if it isn’t. You’ll be required to submit a request form and the appropriate charge (check out the fee schedule for details). Your request may be rejected if there is already a yacht registered in Canada with the same or similar name. In addition to making sure the name you choose isn’t already used, keep in mind that planning to rename a boat requires three years of registration under the present name. Only if the boat is being sold or transferred from one person or company to another may you alter the name at any time. The information you provide on your request form must be entirely correct.
Make Sure the Name Isn’t Profane or Obscene Before You Rename a Boat
One of the most dangerous things you can do to your boat is to give it an obscene or sexist name. Boats of any size don’t usually need permits, but you should check with local authorities to ensure your watercraft doesn’t contravene any local rules. As a result, the Vessel Registry in British Columbia has access to a copy of every vessel’s registration certificate, which means they may notify you whether your boat has an unsavory moniker like Sex Toy. After being told that a boat’s name is improper, the province may request that the registration certificate be relinquished or amended, as well as any related paperwork such as bills of sale. Once a boat is sold or transferred, the name on the title frequently has to match the name on the owner’s insurance policy—not only will this minimize misunderstanding down the road if anything occurs, but altering an existing boat’s name indeed entails expenses.
Pick a Name That Is Easy To Remember and Spell
No rule says you can’t give your boat any name you want, and no law prevents you from doing so. However, keep a few things in mind before deciding what to rename a boat. Because the name is one of the first things people will see when they come across your boat, you should make sure it is something that will stand out, and that won’t leave people scratching their heads when they try to think of how to say it. On the boat name form, you don’t have a lot of room to work with, so if you have a lengthy and complicated name, try to shorten it to ten characters or fewer. If you ever get into an argument with someone about who should be using your slip, having a long name probably won’t help your case, even though it might seem like a good idea at the time.
Make Sure the Name Doesn’t Conflict with Another Registered Vessel.
You have to check to see that the name you choose for the boat does not duplicate one already in use. The official guidelines from Transport Canada state that two boats can’t have the same name if they’re more than 200 meters apart. To put it another way, it may be legal for two “Sailing Vessels” to exist within 200 meters of each other, but Sailing Vessels would not be allowed to share space on their respective governing documents. Nobody wants to have their ship refused entry into a port or have their progress across international boundaries slowed down because someone else has already staked a claim to the name. If you have made it thus far without coming across any names that are already in use, however, you may be on your way to being able to change the name of your yacht.
Get Written Consent from All Parties Involved
Requesting authorization from the present owner of the yacht is the next step. It’s a good idea to check with the seller to see if they’re prepared to hand over ownership of the boat so that you may rename it after someone else. Because boats are considered personal property by the CRA, any transaction involving them would necessitate payment of applicable taxes if approval is not obtained in writing from the owner. You may be surprised to find the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) waiting for you at your door if you acquired a boat and wanted to rename it without gaining formal approval and then went on an extended vacation. They remember the boat’s original name and can determine if it’s no longer listed under your name! As a result, this must be completed first.
The easiest and most convenient way to rename a boat is by contacting the National Vessel Registry at +1 (800) 419-9569, a Transport Canada division. The registry maintains a database of all vessels in Canada, including their current names, nautical numbers, and original names. If you’re unhappy with your current vessel name and want to change it, you have to call the number above and give them the old vessel name and new vessel names to use.