Should You Get Registration or a Vessel Licence in Canada For Your Boat?

Vessel Licence in Canada

One of the most common questions we receive from our users is whether or not they need to get a vessel licence in Canada. Now, those not in the know might think that it’s just like with cars: everyone needs a licence. However, that’s not the case at all. Unlike a car, a vessel needs to get a specific document depending on what its use is. Let’s take a closer look at what the difference between getting documentation for commercial and recreational vessels will be.

Pleasure Craft and Recreational Vessels

If you own and wish to operate a recreational vessel, officially known as a pleasure craft, you will need to get a licence for it. That is, of course, if it is equipped with motors of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more. In accordance with Transport Canada’s boating documentation guidelines, a pleasure craft licence is the document that grants the boat in question with an identifying number. This allows you to have a distinct number attached to your vessel in order to properly identify it in situations such as searches and rescues, and qualifying personnel will be able to find and access relevant information. All you need to do in order to get your own licence for your pleasure craft will be to apply for one. As part of this process, you will need to provide some contact information, as well as information about the boat itself. 

Commercial Vessels

Now, the above solely applies for recreational vessels. If you intend to operate your vessel commercially, then you will need to register it with Transport Canada, which is a different process than that of licencing a pleasure craft. However, the application itself will be fairly similar to that of a licence. First and foremost, you will need to provide proof of ownership as part of the registration process, which can simply involve a bill of sale or a similar document. Once you have this, all you need to do is fill out the registration form, which you can find here on our website. In fact, you can fill it out and submit it through our platform. Our checkers will make sure that everything is good to go before passing it along to Transport Canada. After that, it will only be a brief matter of time before you receive your registration.

Vessel Licence in Canada

Get Your Vessel Licence in Canada

Every vessel owner in Canada knows how important it is to keep either your registration or your pleasure craft licence in order at the time of operating in Canadian waters. After all, you want to avoid having to pay fines or having your vessel forcibly docked. In the interest of helping you keep everything in order, we at the National Vessel Registry Center have made sure to provide you with all the relevant forms and the platform to submit them. If at any point in the process you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling us at +1 (800) 419-9569 or emailing