Our Basic Guide to Canada’s Small Vessel Registry

small vessel registry

The small vessel registry is a helpful tool for all small boat owners in Canada, whether you’re brand new to boating or you’ve been doing it for years. Understanding the registry’s purpose and design is a good way to get the most out of the service. Having a small boat is both fun and exciting but requires you to adhere to regulations and rules for safety and documentation purposes. If you want to get out on the water, here’s what you need to know. 

What is Considered a Small Vessel?

Subjectivity defines “small,” but guidelines determine if your boat qualifies as a small vessel or not. In general, a small vessel is one that weighs less than 15 gross tons and carries fewer than 12 passengers. This includes many types of boats, including kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and even small power boats. However, regardless of the type, proper registration and documentation is required before you hit the water. 

Types of Small Vessels

A couple of types of small vessels are listed above. In addition to those are a plethora of other vessels that you might see or want to try using in Canadian waters. They include dinghies and fishing boats, as well as any other small watercraft that you use for recreational purposes. Maybe that’s paddling near shore, or maybe that’s fishing with your buddies. In any case, understanding the registry process is an important part of being a responsible boat owner. 

What Can You Do With Your Small Vessel?

Knowing what your small vessel can do (and what it legally allows) is crucial. In most cases, a small vessel registered won’t be used for commercial purposes like fishing or passenger transport. Instead, people mainly use them for fun and recreation. That includes fishing, sailing, and kayaking. Properly registering your boat as a small vessel is part of ensuring that it’s always fun when you take it out on the water. 

small vessel registry

Rules that Go with the Small Vessel Registry

Now you know whether your boat qualifies as a small vessel and the activities you can enjoy with it. Remember you must have your boat properly registered at all times and must carry current and valid documentation on board at all times. You’ll have to have proof of ownership, registration documents, and a pleasure craft license. All of these are necessary to legally operate your small vessel for any purpose. 

Not only does this legal requirement provide safety perks, but it also enables the proper authorities to identify you and send help in case of an emergency on the water. Keeping your papers up to date is crucial to avoid fines and penalties if caught without them.

Here at the Canadian Vessel Registry, we’re here to help you get through the registration process on the small vessel registry. We can answer questions and give you tips for each step along the way. Contact us today and we’ll help you get started.