How Do You Register a Boat in Ontario?

Register a Boat in Ontario

You are excited about buying a new pleasure craft. However, you don’t want to confine your vessel’s use to a weekend sailing trip or fishing for leisure. You also want to profit from your vessel. If you intend to use your boat as a multiple-use boat, you need to register a boat in Ontario or any other area, as a commercial vessel.

If you’re an entrepreneur who loves sailing as well as making money doing what you love to do, you’ll need to apply for a registration on the Canadian Vessel Registry site for a non-pleasure craft. This reference is synonymous with a boat used for commercial purposes, or for reasons of commerce.

Registering a Multiple-Use Boat: The Requirements

Therefore, when a boat is registered for pleasure and non-pleasure, it must meet the following requirements:

  • The boat must meet the construction mandates for a commercial vessel.
  • The boat must meet the requirements for registration for small commercial boats, if applicable.
  • Parts of the boat that are not permanent, such as the safety equipment, can change, depending on how the boat is used at any given time. However, law enforcement officials recommend that you follow the rules of commercial boating regardless of how you are using the vessel.

Examples of Using a Boat for Pleasure and Commercial Purposes

For example, let’s say you are using your boat to transport passengers for weekend sightseeing tours but use it at other times for fishing or leisurely family excursions. You’ll need to register it as a commercial vessel.

Or, maybe you’re a real estate agent who uses your pleasure craft to take clients to see homes during the week. However, you use the boat for recreation when you’re not using the boat for business transport. Again, you need to commercially register the boat.

Registration Requirements for Non-Pleasure Craft 

This might lead you to ask what you need to do to register your boat as a non-pleasure craft.

Small Vessel Register Requirements

To understand where you stand in this regard, you need to define a commercial vessel. This type of boat is used for reasons other than daily living, pleasure, or recreation. You can register in the Small Vessel Register if the following applies:

  • The boat you operate has a gross tonnage of 15 or less
  • The boat has at least a 10-horsepower or 7.5 kW motor
  • Your vessel does not require that a mortgage be registered with Transport Canada
  • Your vessel does not require an official name

A small vessel registry certificate is valid for five years. If your vessel is exempt, you may voluntarily register it.

Register a Boat in Ontario, Willingly

A voluntary registration in Small Vessel Registration involves a boat that is a small sailing vessel measuring under 8.5 meters or carrying under 12 passengers. Its propulsion motor is under 10 horsepower or 7.5 kW. When registering a boat in Ontario, you need to comply, as well, with the related safety regulations, construction requirements, and pollution prevention rules.

Canadian Register of Vessels

Otherwise, you’ll need to register your vessel in the Canadian Register of Vessels. This registry allows you to name your boat, register a mortgage, and show proof of ownership.

The Historical Meaning of Registration

Historically, merchant ships or commercial vessels were legally required, internationally, to be registered. This creates a legal entity. The country where a registry exists is called a flag state. The “state” oversees and certifies a boat’s condition, including the equipment onboard. It is also certified with respect to safety and pollution prevention rules and laws.

Individual and Joint Ownership – How It Impacts Registration

In Canada, each vessel is divided into 64 shares – shares that are either owned by individual owners or joint owners (up to 5). If more than two people own a boat, they need to register it.

Commercial Vessels and Pleasure Craft: Making the Distinctions

To distinguish between commercial and non-commercial use, you’ll need to note the following:

Commercial Vessels

Commercial vessels include boats that feature:

  • Onboard paying passengers
  • Crew members
  • Marine services
  • Governmental services or deployment

Pleasure Craft

Pleasure craft are defined as boats that:

  • Are used for boating or getting to a vacation destination
  • Are used for water skiing, recreational fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, or swimming
  • Are used for daily living activities other than business or employment use

To ensure compliance, a multiple-use boat or commercial vessel may undergo a safety inspection to ensure compliance with the 2001 Canada Shipping Act. The Small Vessel Compliance Program (a self-inspection decal program) is offered to assist small vessel operators in meeting their legal responsibilities.

Changing How Your Boat Is Used

There may come a time when you decide to use your non-pleasure boat solely as a pleasure craft. If this happens, you’ll need to visit the Canadian Vessel Registry online and fill out the proper form regarding the change. Always keep Transport Canada updated, through the Canadian Vessel Registry, about any changes that you make.

Register a Boat in Ontario

Go Online to Register Your Boat in Ontario, Today

Do you need to register your multiple-use boat? If so, you’re ready to go online and do so. You can get everything done on the Canadian Vessel Registry user-friendly website. Make sure you remain compliant with respect to your boat’s use and how it is registered online.