Being a boat owner in Canada means assuming a fair amount of responsibility. For instance, you will need to ensure that your boat is always up-to-date on its maintenance and in good working order. This will help you avoid potentially dangerous situations, such as having your engine fail while you are out on the water. Additionally, you should keep your boat clean and well-stocked when it comes to first aid supplies and life jackets. Should an accident occur, you have an obligation to help protect your passengers at all times. Another item that you will want to stay on top of is your documentation with Transport Canada, whether you have a registered vessel or a boat that carries a pleasure craft license (PCL). As boating can be a dangerous activity, and it is one that makes use of communal waterways, it is not much of a surprise that it is regulated by the Canadian government rather tightly. As you will want to avoid any costly fines, it is a must that you keep valid documentation onboard your vessel at all times.
Transport Canada plays an important role within the Canadian government. As the nation’s primary transportation agency for both land and sea, they face a challenging task in monitoring Canada’s waterways. With thousands of employees, this government agency crafts legislation and issues licenses and registrations to boaters across the country. As you may well know, Canada has hundreds of thousands of lakes, so staying on top of who and what is on our waters can be a difficult duty. As a responsible vessel owner, the onus is on you to do your part to keep your licenses and registration valid. Fortunately, by working with a private service such as ours at the National Vessel Registry Center, you can get all of the documentation you need by using our fillable online forms.
Maintaining a Vessel that is Registered with Transport Canada
Boat owners in Canada can use their vessels in a variety of different ways. For some, their boat is purely a means of recreation, and they take it out on weekends or summer afternoons to enjoy leisure activities with their friends and family. Others, however, earn their livelihoods by using their vessels for commercial means such as running sightseeing or fishing charters. If you are using your vessel for any sort of commercial activity, you will need to apply for vessel registration. This is also true if you plan to travel on international waters under the Canadian flag, or if you have financed the purchase of your boat with a marine mortgage.
To apply for vessel registration, you will need to complete a handful of forms with Transport Canada, as well as provide some supplemental materials. First, you should fill out Form 1 – Application for Vessel Registration, along with Form 3 – Statement of Qualification for Vessel Registration. This document will ask you for some basic details about yourself as well as your vessel. You will also need to submit photographs of all four sides of your vessel, along with a tonnage measurement and proof of ownership, which is typically accomplished with a Form 6 – Bill of Sale.
The penalties for operating a boat commercially without a vessel registration can be significant, sometimes totalling thousands of dollars. Fortunately, you can work with us to apply for your registration online. Once your registration is issued, you will be given a wholly unique name of your choice for your boat, along with an official number.
Obtaining a Pleasure Craft License Online
If your boat will be used for more simple leisure activities, a standard pleasure craft license will often be satisfactory. In Canada, any motorized boat with an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more will need a PCL in order to legally operate. You can obtain your PCL by filling out an application, as well as providing a full-size photograph of your boat and proof of ownership to the Canadian government. Once issued, you will receive a registration number with your PCL. This number will need to be displayed on both sides of your boat’s bow in a location well above the waterline. Your number should use letters of at least three inches in height that are also in a colour that clearly contrasts with your boat.
Your PCL will be valid for a period of ten years, at which point you will have the opportunity to submit a renewal request. We can help you apply for an initial license or a renewal using our simplified online forms. Simply select the correct PCL option from our top navigation menu, and you will be brought to the appropriate web form.
All of the Forms You Need on One Site
At the National Vessel Registry Center, we offer one-stop shopping for all of your vessel documentation needs. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.