Owning a Pleasure Craft in Canada: What You Should Know

Pleasure Craft

Ownership of a Canadian pleasure craft is proven by a bill of sale copy, which should not be confused with either registration or licensing. Neither registration nor licensing can be used to prove ownership of a Pleasure Craft. While these documents support the ownership of your boat, they can’t be used as the sole proof of ownership.

Canadian Ownership and Licensing Requirements

A bill of sale copy must be kept on the vessel at all times, along with a valid Canadian vessel licence or registration number. This number, also displayed on the exterior of the boat, is used for identification in search and rescue operations, or similar instances. Comparable to a car’s licence plate, it must be displayed at a height of at least 3 inches (licences) or 4 inches (registrations) in a color that contrasts with the boat’s color.

What is a PCOC?

To demonstrate proficiency in operating your boat, you need to possess a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). This certification is obtained through an online examination from a Transport Canada affiliate training center.

Keep Your Boat’s Bill of Sale Copy Accessible at All Times

Maintaining a bill of sale copy on the boat at all times is mandatory. Once purchased, you have 90 days from the pleasure craft sale date to transfer or obtain your boat’s licence number or registration I.D.

To fill out the licensing application for a new boat, you need government-issued photo identification and your bill of sale. Used boat purchasers need the licence number from the seller for transfer.

What Happens If You Don’t Get a Licence

Licensing regulations and processes may vary across provinces. Operating a boat without proper licensing can result in a $250 fine, making it essential to possess both your boat’s bill of sale and pleasure craft license documentation.

Bill of Sale Information for Registering a Boat

The bill of sale must contain specific information for ownership purposes:

Hull Identification Number (HIN)

– Name and port of registry (for larger named boats) 

– Buyer(s) and seller(s) names, addresses, and signatures

The 12-digit HIN is unique to each pleasure craft manufactured, built, or rebuilt specifically for selling or operating in Canada. Again, the number has to be positioned where it can be easily visible during operation.

Sellers or buyers must report any name or address changes, which they can do through the Canadian Vessel Registry. 

Transfer Deadline Following a Sale

Transfers must occur within 90 days. Vessel operation is allowed as long as documentation reflecting name and address changes are located onboard with current owner details.

Requirements for Registration and Licensing

Boats with motors of 10 horsepower or more must be licensed according to Canadian Small Vessel regulations. However, registration for a pleasure craft is optional. 

You can name your boat and fly the Canadian flag by registering your vessel. You need to register the boat if you take out a marine loan on the watercraft.

Financial and legal experts recommend registration for providing additional ownership proof and facilitating marine mortgage options.

Every three years, Transport Canada inquires about registration/ownership. Verifying your status necessitates confirming your address or any changes in the boat’s specs.

If you obtain a license, you’ll need to renew it every 10 years.

Pleasure Craft

Get Registered Today

Do you need to license or register your pleasure craft? If so, you can get the full details when you visit the Canadian Vessel Registry website. Both licensing and registration helps emergency personnel find you if you ever get lost on the waters. 

However, registration carries additional benefits. Again, you can give your boat a unique name and fly the Canadian flag. You’ll need to register your boat if you plan to finance it or insure it. Registration is also added insurance, as it makes it easier to navigate Canada’s waterways and stay legally compliant.

So, make licensing or registration easy. Visit the Canadian Vessel Registry now.