Do I Need to Obtain a Pleasure Craft License?

obtain a pleasure craft license

If you’re a new owner of a boat, you may be wondering if you need to license your recent acquisition. In order to determine that, ask yourself if your boat is considered a pleasure craft.  A pleasure craft (or please boat) is a boat used for recreational purposes, be it for family outings or sportsmanlike activities. This means that a pleasure craft cannot be used for commercial purposes, and any passengers on the boat do not pay a fee to be transported on the boat.  If your boat is, in fact, a pleasure craft, it is mandatory for you to obtain a Pleasure Craft License if it’s equipped with a 10 (or more) horsepower motor and is owned in Canada. However, a watercraft of any size may be licensed.

How to Obtain a Pleasure Craft License

When you obtain a pleasure craft license it is important to give your vessel a unique identification number, or “license number”, which must be displayed on the bow of your boat at all times. Although the identification number must be displayed on your boat in block characters, be at least 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) high, and be a color that contrasts with the color of the bow, it does not have to be an eyesore, and will serve a very useful purpose.

Obtain a pleasure craft license

The purpose of the identification number is to help law enforcement authorities and rescue officials to trace a boat to its owner, which is especially important in emergency situations.

A pleasure craft license is valid for 10 years, as long as the owner’s name and address remain the same throughout. If there are any changes to the owner’s information, then the license must be updated. Keep in mind, however, that a license does not prove ownership of the vessel. Therefore, you must carry proof of ownership with you at all times when operating our boat.

Canadian Vessel Registry can help you

If you are interested in obtaining a license for your pleasure craft, you can do so with the Canadian Vessel Registry. Fill out the form titled “New Pleasure Craft License” for an easy, seamless experience. If you have any questions about licensing your pleasure craft, please call us at (800) 419-9569, or send us an email at