How to Make Boat Registration Changes in Canada

Registration Changes

You’ve registered your boat in Canada. Hurray! You now have a registration number, boat name, and port of entry to display on your pleasure craft vessel. However, you’ll also need to report any registration changes to your boat in case you need to retrofit the vessel or decide to make some major (some even minor) alterations to its design.

This is important to remember, as these kinds of changes need to be reported so you can continue to navigate your beloved boat. If you modify a boat to the point that its specs are different than when you registered it, you need to report the differences ASAP.

When to Report a Change

Changes should be reported if you change the boat’s color, lengthen it, or if you choose to rename it. You need to do this or you’ll defeat the purpose of registration – that is, to identify the boat during an emergency.

If you own a vessel that is part of the Small Vessel Register, you’re required to report changes to your personal details or alterations to your boat within 30 days. If you don’t take this action, your registration may be closed or suspended. 

Normally 30 days is the usual time required when making changes in either the Canadian Register of Vessels or the small Canadian boat registry. Boats with names are listed in the Canadian Register of Vessels while non-pleasure or small commercial boats without names are found in the Small Vessel Register. Registration is required when a boat is equipped with a 10-horsepower (7.5 kW) motor.

Mortgage Updates

Changes often occur when a mortgage is taken out on a registered vessel, or the holder owns a share in the boat. A boat may be used as security for a loan or another item of value. For example, you may be using the vessel as collateral for getting financing. If you’re using the vessel for this purpose, you’ll need to notify the registry of any change in your status. 

If you pay off the mortgage, for instance, you’ll need to report the release of the mortgage and the change to the Canadian Register of Vessels. You must register the boat in the same registry if you wish to use the boat to take out a loan or if you wish to finance the boat.

If you need a builder’s mortgage for a boat under construction, you also must register the boat in the Canadian Register of Vessels. This will protect you in case the builder happens to go out of business.

Reporting a Change in Tonnage, Engine Power, or a Boat’s Measurement

Often, boaters report a change in tonnage. They may also make an upgrade in the vessel’s engine power or have to alter the measurement.

How to Submit Changes

When any of the above changes need to be made, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Submit changes, including a descriptor change, if you have an assigned formal tonnage to report – this should be done in writing by the owner.
  • Submit a specific form (4A or 4B) for a simplified method of tonnage measurement. The change and change in the descriptor, again, must be supplied in writing by the owner.

When these types of changes are made, a new certificate of registry is sent.

Avoid Penalties – Make Sure Your Registration is Updated

Anytime, you subject your boat to changes or you change your contact details, you’ll need to submit a registration change. Doing so keeps you legal and prevents problems with fines or even the docking of your boat. 

If you don’t submit changes as they occur, it can become quite confusing for rescuers or law enforcement to help you if you happen to get lost, your boat is stolen, you get injured in an accident, and you’ll put yourself in jeopardy. Therefore, any change you make that also changes the information on your registration must be acknowledged and reported.

Registration Changes

Register Your Vessel or Make Registration Changes Online

To make things easier, contact the Canadian Vessel Registry to register your boat or to make any changes to your registration along the way. Make it your one-stop website for all of your boating registration or licensing requirements.