Importing a Boat Into Canada is a Delicate Step by Step Process

importing a boat into Canada

When importing a boat into Canada, it will be very important for you to make sure the process goes smoothly every step of the way. After all, you don’t want to realize you made a mistake when you’ve already settled in Canada with the boat you crossed the border with. Let’s go over what you will need to keep in mind.

Importing a Boat Into Canada

Before making any purchase, you should have the boat inspected by a marine mechanic who can assess the current state of the vessel appropriately. Additionally, you should request a certificate of title, which in the United States can help the owner prove that there is nothing officially being owed in regards to the vessel assets. If there is a loan on the boat, for example, the lender will often retain the title documents. You should only be importing a boat into Canada if you are sure that the boat in question has no liens or loans to its name that you might have to bear the burden of after the purchase. Once you are sure you want to buy the boat, have the seller write a bill of sale that separates the trailer, boat, and motor. Additionally, you will want a notarized bill of sale that covers all the assets.

At the Border

When you are at Canadian customs, you will first need to declare that you are importing a boat, which will entail declaring the value and the selling price. To properly do this, you will need to show proof of ownership and bills of sale for the boat, the trailer, and any removable accessories. Depending on the province you are entering, you may have to pay a Provincial Sales Tax. This includes British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Québec. Meanwhile, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island will charge a Harmonized Sales Tax. If your new boat was manufactured in Canada, Mexico, or the United States, federal duty will not be charged.

After Returning to Canada

Once you have crossed the border with your new boat and its trailer, you will still have to go through a few last steps before cementing your ownership here in Canada. You should, for one, mail the license plate back to the owner in the United States and buy your own trailer license at a provincial Driver & Vehicle Licence Office. Once you do this, be sure to save all your receipts in case you are ever asked for proof you paid all the necessary fees and taxes on it. Once you have that figured out, you will need to wrap up the process of importing a boat into Canada by applying for registration or a pleasure craft license with Transport Canada, which you can easily do through our platform here at the National Vessel Registry Center.

Making the Purchase

If the process of importing a boat into Canada and registering it with Transport Canada proves to be a challenge, don’t worry. Our team here at the National Vessel Registry Center is here to help. Give us a call at +1 (800) 419-9569, email us at, or fill out the contact form on our website should you need any help.