The Transport Canada Boat Licence Application Process Explained

Transport Canada Boat Licence

Commercial vessel owners here in Canada know that, in order to operate their ships, they need to register them with Transport Canada. This registration will not only make it official that they properly had their vessel go through the corresponding process with Transport Canada, but it will also show that the owner is meeting the right guidelines and regulations while operating. This will be slightly different when it comes to recreational vessels and pleasure craft. Let’s take a closer look at what the Transport Canada boat licence process will be like in case that you need to apply for this licence.

Transport Canada Boat Licence

Here in Canada, you don’t need to register recreational vessels with Transport Canada, but you do need a specific licence in order to operate a pleasure craft. Now, you might be thinking that this is going to be like getting your driver’s licence, but the process is actually fairly different. It will mostly just involve the application form, which you can find here on our website. However, before that, you will need to go through the process of getting your own operator card. None of this is particularly complicated, but it will involve some attention to detail throughout the process in order to avoid mistakes and delays in the application.

The Process For You to Get Your Operator Card

The first thing you should know about the process to get a licence is that it has a few different steps you will go through before receiving the official document,

  • Safety Test – The first thing that you will need in order to get your licence will be to take the official Transport Canada exam, known as the Canada Boating Safety Test (TCBS Test for short). You will have two attempts to pass the test. Just remember, in case you fail the first attempt, you will have to wait twenty-four hours before the second one.


  • Temporary License – Once you pass the Canada Boating Safety Test, you will be able to print the online course completion document. This can act as a temporary boating licence in all Canadian provinces while you wait to receive the actual license.
  • Operator Card – Now, between two to three weeks, you will be receiving your pleasure craft operator card in the mail. This permit will be recognized in all Canadian provinces, so don’t worry about where you are setting sail to within the country.

Transport Canada Boat Licence


Vessel Documentation Forms

Every recreational vessel owner in Canada knows how important it is to keep 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