The Differences Between Vessel Licensing and Registration

Vessel Licensing and Registratio

Are you thinking about purchasing your very own boat for the first time? If so, you are probably excited to get out on Canadian waters and make waves with your friends, family, and loved ones. Before you can untie from the dock and feel the wind on your face, however, you have some work to do. First, you need to locate a boat that is right for your needs. This means browsing listings in both digital and print advertisements and locating a seller. Then, you will need to inspect the boat yourself and negotiate a fair price. With your transaction complete and the keys to your new boat in your hands, you may be ready to set sail. There will, however, be some paperwork to take care of with Transport Canada, and you may need to learn a bit about the differences between vessel licensing and registration before you start filling out applications.

When you think about the car you own and the documentation required, your mind probably goes right to its license and registration. While the terms sound similar in the boating world, licenses and registrations actually serve fairly different purposes. In your time as a boat owner, you can expect to periodically work with Transport Canada on documentation matters, and by knowing what you need, you can spend less time toiling away on forms and more time cruising the waters.

What is a Pleasure Craft License?

If your boat will be used for purely recreational purposes, you will likely need to obtain a Pleasure Craft License (PCL) from Transport Canada. Specifically, all motorized pleasurecraft with engines of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more are required to carry a PCL. Licensing is, however, available to all boaters, even those with kayaks and canoes. 

Once issued, your PCL will assign your vessel a registration number, which you will need to display on your boat’s exterior. You will need to apply for the number on both sides of the bow in contrasting letters at least three inches in height and well above the waterline. Your PCL will also be valid for a period of ten years, at which point you will have the opportunity to request a renewal.

Who Needs a Vessel Registration

If you are planning to use your boat for any commercial purposes, traveling internationally, or if it is carrying a marine mortgage, you will need to enter it in the national registry. Vessel registration is obtained by completing Form 1 – Application for Registry and submitting some additional supplemental materials, such as a tonnage measurement and a statement of qualification. With a vessel registration, you will receive a unique, official name of your choosing, and an official number (only the name must be displayed). 

Vessel Licensing and Registration

Handling Vessel Licensing and Registration Online

Whether you need a registration or a license, we can help. By using our online forms, you can submit your applications quickly and securely. To learn more about how we can help you, contact one of our friendly customer service agents by phone or email today.