How to Register Transport Canada Pleasure Craft Licence

transport canada pleasure craft licence

With summer quickly upon us, it is time to get your boat out on the water. Before you head out on the lake, though, you will want to make sure that your vessel is in good working order. That means checking the gas and oil, making sure your life jacket supply is adequate, and giving it a thorough clean before bringing your passengers onboard. You will also want to make sure that your vessel documentation is current and stored in a secure place. If you are operating a motorized vessel of any kind–including jet skis–you will likely need a Transport Canada Pleasure Craft Licence (PCL).

Not to be confused with a boating licence, or Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), your PCL is an assigned registration for your boat. You can think of it as a similar document to the registration for your motor vehicle. Just as you would not pull your car out of the garage without a copy of your registration in the glove box, so too should you not untie from the dock without a current PCL.

Understanding the Basics of a Transport Canada Pleasure Craft Licence

If you have spent any amount of time around boats, you are likely familiar with the string of numbers that are commonly affixed to the sides of vessels. That registration number comes from a vessel’s pleasure craft licence, and it is issued by Transport Canada. Serving as the nation’s primary transportation agency, Transport Canada monitors and regulates our waterways. One such measure they take in ensuring boater safety is keeping track of the boats on Canadian waters. 

Your PCL number can also serve a valuable safety purpose. Should your boat go missing or become subject to theft, your identification number can assist authorities or search and rescue workers in locating your vessel.

transport canada pleasure craft licence

Does Your Vessel Require a Pleasure Craft Licence?

It should be noted that not every boat is going to require a PCL–though they are available to all. Canoes, rafts, and other non-motorized vessels are exempt from registration. As a general rule, however, most motorized boats will need to obtain a licence. Specifically, any boat with an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or greater will need to apply for a PCL.

Registered vessels can also forgo PCL requirements. A boat that is in the Small Vessel Registry–typically a commercial ship–is already on file with Transport Canada, so there is no need to meet additional licensing requirements. 

How to Obtain Your Pleasure Craft Licence Online

You can obtain paper copies of the application necessary to obtain your PCL from Transport Canada. You can submit your documents via mail and once assigned your PCL will be valid for a period of ten years. Of course, you can also get your PCL online by working with a private service such as ours at the National Vessel Registry Center. Contact us today by phone or email to learn more about our easy-to-complete web forms for this and other vessel documentation matters.