Transport Canada Boat Registration: Step by Step

Transport Canada Boat Registration

Do you take pride in the fact that you own a boat in Canada? If this is the case, then the Transport Canada boat registration is probably familiar to you. Getting registered is an essential chore that has to be done to observe all of the applicable requirements and be safe while enjoying what our wonderful nation has to offer. This is true even if you would rather be out on the open sea sailing than puzzling out paperwork and bureaucracy. Don’t worry; registering your yacht is easier than it may appear it will be at first! We’ll take you through recording your boat as a Canadian boater here so that you may set sail with complete peace of mind, knowing that all your paperwork is in order.

Get Your Paperwork in Order

The first step in registering your yacht with Transport Canada is collecting all necessary documentation. To successfully complete a boat registration, Transport Canada has compiled a list of required and approved papers. Not only are you required to have these documents to register your boat with Transport Canada, but you also need them to show proof of ownership when you are applying for a boat license with your local municipality or an agency that handles boat licensing, as is mandated by the law in your province. Although most boat owners have some of the required papers and forms on hand, many need to be made aware that they need additional items to register their boats with Transport Canada.

Apply For a Number Plate or Decal

As soon as you cross the border into Canada and get behind the wheel of a vehicle for the first time, you must attach a license plate exclusive to Canada. Transport Canada strongly suggests that boat owners affix a number plate or sticker to the hull of their vessel that specifies both their home address and the name of their boat. 

The Canadian Coast Guard requires that you fill out a form known as the “Boat Registration Application” and send it to them along with a fee (plus any relevant taxes) to make an application for a number plate. In addition, you will need to indicate the length of your boat, the kind of engine it has, and the horsepower rating for it to be included in the database of registered boats maintained by Transport Canada.

Keep Your Records for Transport Canada Boat Registration

When registering a boat with Transport Canada, it is essential to preserve accurate documents. If the boat is utilized for business purposes, the owner must maintain a record of all costs associated with the boat’s operation, which is not required for recreational vessels. Private usage exempts the owner from such regulations, although they must still preserve the vehicle’s shipping documentation, insurance policies, and service records. 

Whether or not your boat is used professionally, you should always maintain evidence of ownership in case it is stolen. This includes keeping records of any alterations or repairs made to your boat. You must hang on to your Transport Canada boat registration and ownership paperwork for at least five years following the registration date.

Transport Canada Boat Registration

Fill Out the Small Craft Application Form and the Bill of Sale Form

The Bill of Sale document is a receipt for your vessel. It must contain a description of your boat, the money paid for it (including sales tax), the name and address of the seller and purchaser, and the date on which the transaction took place. After completing both forms, scan them so they may be uploaded to the website more efficiently later. 

Taking images of the documents with your smartphone or watching them in, assuming you have access to a scanner, are viable options for this task. The scanned papers must be in PDF format, and their total size can be at most 5 megabytes. Given that there is a limit on the total size of the files that may be uploaded, it is in your best interest to do so using a third-party service such as Dropbox.

The National Vessel Registry Center, Corp. is the premier Transport Canada boat registration company, trusted by thousands of Canadian residents. Explore our site for more on this or any additional information on forms.