The Different Types of Boating Licenses in Canada

Canada Boating Licenses

One of the great things about boating is that it can be enjoyed by all types of individuals. No matter your age, chances are you can find something pleasurable about a day out on the water. With this in mind, it is really no wonder that there are all types of different boats that serve different seafaring purposes. From large, commercial barges used for transportation, to small kayaks meant for casual exploration, boats come in a broad range of sizes and functions. In Canada, where our pristine waterways are a point of national pride, boating is regulated by Transport Canada, which serves as the nation’s primary transportation agency. They issue various boating licenses in Canada, and if you are an aspiring boat owner, you can expect to work with them on occasion.

Do you have your eye on a particular boat? Are you looking for something for casual family outings, or are your goals more commercial in scope? Depending on the boat you buy and what you use it for, your licensing needs may fluctuate a bit. By having a solid grasp of the different licensing options available, you can be more prepared to file the necessary paperwork with Transport Canada–and at the National Vessel Registry Center, we can help.

Canada Boating Licenses for Pleasure Craft

If you are like most Canadian boat owners, you are looking for a vessel to use for leisure purposes. Whether that means sightseeing or casual fishing, a boat used purely for recreation will typically require a Pleasure Craft License (PCL). The specific criteria for a PCL cover any motorized vessel with an engine of 10 horsepower or more, which is the equivalent of 8.5 kW. Of course, even non-motorized vessels can obtain a PCL, and many boat owners appreciate having some form of registration in case their boat is lost or stolen.

Once you are issued a PCL, it will be valid for a period of 10 years, at which point you will have the opportunity to submit a renewal. Your PCL will also provide you with a registration number that must be displayed on your vessel’s exterior, in letters at least three inches in height and in contrasting colors.

Vessel Registration for Commercial Boats

If your vessel will be traveling abroad under the Canadian flag, carrying a marine mortgage, or if it will be used for any sort of commercial purposes, a simple PCL will not suffice. In any of these scenarios, you will need to apply for a vessel registration with Transport Canada. You can do this by submitting an application, completing a bill of sale, supplying a tonnage measurement, and providing photographs of all four sides of your vessel.

With a vessel registration, you will no longer need to carry or renew a PCL. You will also receive a completely unique name for your boat, along with an official number. Carrying a vessel registration also allows you to fly the Canadian flag while traveling internationally.

Canada Boating Licenses

Get Your Licenses Online

At the National Vessel Registry Center, we can help you get your Canadian boating license online. Simply locate the license or registration that you need in our easy-to-use navigation, and you will be brought to a fillable form you can complete in just minutes. We also use an SSL-encrypted web portal for the secure transmission of your information. To learn more, contact us by phone or email today.