How to Tell if Your Boat Belongs on the Small Vessel Registry

Small Vessel Registry

You just bought a brand-new boat. You are probably itching to untie from the dock and head out onto the lake. That is only understandable–it probably took months of research and years of saving to finally purchase your very own vessel. While you have certainly unlocked a liberating pastime, there is some paperwork that you will need to complete. For starters, you are going to want to determine whether or not your boat belongs on the small vessel registry. There are a number of different types of licenses and registrations in Canada, and determining what type of documentation you need will primarily depend on what your boat is being used for. 

If you are like many leisure or casual boaters, you are probably looking to go out fishing, sightseeing, or tubing with your friends and family. If your boat has an engine with a horsepower of 10 or more, you will need a Pleasure Craft License (PCL) to engage in these activities with your vessel. A PCL will cover most motorized vessels that are used for non-commercial or recreational purposes. If your boat is going above and beyond such activities, however, you may need to pursue vessel registration. 

Meeting the Requirements for Vessel Registration

Only vessels meeting select criteria are mandated to complete registration–though it is a service that is available to all boats. Any boat that is being used for commercial purposes–charters, industrial fishing, tours–must complete a registration with Transport Canada. This is also true of boats that are financed with a marine mortgage. Additionally, if you are planning to travel under the Canadian flag on international waters, it is compulsory to register your vessel.

There are some benefits to be enjoyed by registering your vessel. For starters, you will be issued a completely unique name of your choosing. If you want to stand out from your peers down at the dock, vessel registration is one way to do so. With registration, you also do not have to worry about obtaining or renewing a PCL–your registration is all the documentation you will need, in that case.

How to Enter the Small Vessel Registry

To register your vessel, you will need to complete some paperwork. The application that you submit to Transport Canada should include some information about yourself, as well as your vessel. You will also need to provide proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale. A tonnage measurement and photographs of all four sides of your boat must also be submitted as supplemental materials. 

Small Vessel Registry

Use Our Online Forms to Register Your Vessel

While you can use paper forms to submit your registration application via mail, there is a quicker solution. Using our online forms and secure web portal, you can fill out your application in just minutes. We also feature a host of other helpful online services for your vessel documentation needs. If you would like to learn more, please browse our FAQs page, or contact one of our customer service agents by phone or email today.