How to Get a Pleasure Craft License from Transport Canada

Transport Canada

After another long and grueling Canadian winter, it would appear that spring is quickly approaching the horizon. With the promise of sunshine and warm weather in the future, you may be thinking about finally purchasing your very own boat. As you begin doing the due diligence necessary to determine which make and model is right for you and your family, you may also want to look into what sort of Transport Canada vessel documentation you will require. Whether your boat calls for a pleasure craft license (PCL) or a vessel registration, you will want to have the proper paperwork onboard your vessel at all times. At the National Vessel Registry Center, we specialize exclusively in helping Canadian boaters get the documentation they need online, and if you are in the market for a PCL, we can help.

Transport Canada is our nation’s primary transportation agency governing infrastructure matters on both land and at sea. This agency employs thousands of Canadians, and from their headquarters in Ottawa, they monitor our waters, issue safety regulations and legislation, and document vessels in accordance with their use. During your time as a boat owner, you can expect to work with this agency from time to time. At the outset, you may find yourself needing a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC). This is also called a boating license, and it demonstrates that you have a basic competency for operating a motorized vessel. With that document in hand, it may be time to apply for your PCL–read on to learn how you can do this the easy way.

What Boats Need a PCL from Transport Canada?

Long before you start filling out your PCL application, you should first make sure that your boat does indeed require it. In Canada, any motorized vessel with an engine of 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more will need to have a PCL. In contrast, boats that are used for commercial means, financed with a marine mortgage, or sailing under the Canadian flag will need a vessel registration.

To get your PCL, you can fill out our streamlined web application. This document will ask you for some basic details about yourself as well as your vessel. You will also need to provide proof of ownership in the form of a bill of sale, and a photograph of your vessel in the side profile. Once issued, your PCL will provide you with a registration number, which must be displayed in three-inch high letters on both sides of your boat’s bow. Your registration number should also clearly contrast with the color of your boat’s exterior. A PCL is valid for a period of 10 years, at which point it can be renewed. PCLs can also be transferred should a boat’s ownership change hands.

Transport Canada

Get Your PCL Today

Why wait? Use our web forms and apply for your PCL today. We also have online forms for a host of other vessel documentation matters. To learn more about our services, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page, or browse our site’s navigation menu.