What are Vessel License Requirements in Canada?

vessel license requirements

If you are thinking about buying a boat, chances are good it is an idea you have been toying with for a long time. The simple truth is buying a watercraft is a major decision, and you can hardly be blamed for agonizing over it since you are likely paying four or five figures to get the boat of your dreams. Additionally, you have probably spent a fair amount of time getting to know all the different types of boats that are on the marketplace. Are you looking for a simple, humble kayak? Or, do you have your eyes on a top-of-the-line fishing boat? Regardless of what you are looking for, you will need to check out a great deal of print and online “for sale” listings before finding a seller that ultimately suits you. Once you have negotiated a price and the keys to your new boat are nearly within your reach, you may also need to attend to some paperwork. Specifically, you will want to confirm your boat meets the vessel license requirements in Canada before putting any ink to paper.

As a boat owner, you will find yourself working with Transport Canada on occasion, most often starting out with obtaining a boating license, also called a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC). A PCOC can be obtained by taking a short educational course and then passing a subsequent competency exam. With your PCOC in hand, you may need some additional documentation concerning your boat itself, and this will likely take the form of a vessel registration or a pleasure craft license (PCL). Read on to learn more about these documents as well as how you can get them online.

Who Meets the Vessel License Requirements in Canada?

It is important to note that PCLs and vessel registrations while sounding somewhat similar, serve pretty different purposes. A PCL applies to any leisure craft with an engine of 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more, though they are available to all who want one. A PCL gives your boat a registration number and it is valid for a period of 10 years, at which point a renewal can be processed.

Vessel registration is also something any boat owner can apply for, but in certain instances they are mandatory. If your boat will be traveling abroad under the Canadian flag, or if it is financed with a bank loan, it will need to be registered. This is also true for any vessel used for commercial means.

vessel license requirements

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If you need a PCL or a vessel registration, why not save some time and use our forms to apply online? Check out our navigation menu to learn more about our services, or take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.