What Boats Need a Transport Canada Pleasure Craft License?

Transport Canada Pleasure Craft License

As we near a new year, another boating season will quickly be upon us. After the stress and rigamarole that comes with the holidays, you may find that you are especially eager to get out on the water and relax. Before you start thinking about when you can launch your vessel for the first time in 2023, you may want to make sure that you have a valid and current Transport Canada pleasure craft license (PCL). Think about it, you would not pull your car out of the driveway without your driver’s license, and that same principle holds true for boats in Canada. As you gear up for another season out on Canada’s hundreds of thousands of lakes, you may want to form a running checklist. For starters, you will want to make sure that your vessel is clean and organized, with well-stocked first aid kits and an ample supply of life preservers onboard. You will also want to check on your engine and ensure that it is up-to-date on its scheduled maintenance. Lastly, though perhaps most importantly, you need to have proper Transport Canada documentation for your vessel, whether that be in the form of a pleasure craft license or a vessel registration. 

When it comes to boating, there really is no place like Canada. The province of Ontario alone has more than 250,000 freshwater lakes, making the possibilities for exploration virtually endless. Of course, Canada also sits against the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, as well as a number of Great Lakes. If you are new to boating or new to Canada, you will find that there is no shortage of places for you to launch your vessel. Our nation’s pristine, scenic waters are an important and treasured resource, and as such, we have a duty to preserve them for future generations of boaters to enjoy. Transport Canada, which is the country’s main transportation agency for matters of both land and sea, is tasked with the responsibility of regulating Canadian waters. One way in which they do this is by issuing vessel registration, pleasure craft licenses, and pleasure craft operator cards (PCOCs). By keeping track of who and what is on our waters, this agency (which is accountable to Parliament) can more effectively craft and design legislation. Read on to learn more about the Transport Canada pleasure craft license, as well as how you can get yours online.

Who Needs a Transport Canada Pleasure Craft License?

When you bought your first car, the anticipation of hitting the open road was likely pretty strong. Of course, before you could head out cruising on your own, there were some preliminary measures you had to take. For example, you had to take a driver’s ed course and pass the requisite exam to obtain your license. If you purchased a car, you also had to complete the process of obtaining a registration. Well, in the world of boating, there are similar rules to follow in order to get your boat and boating licenses. While these two pieces of documentation certainly sound similar, they actually serve fairly different purposes. A “boating license,” which is also called a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC), demonstrates that you have a basic competency for operating a motorized vessel. You can obtain your PCOC by completing an educational course and passing Transport Canada’s exam.

A “boat license” is a bit different from a PCOC in that it applies to the vessel instead of the operator. Officially called a Transport Canada pleasure craft license, this document is required for all motorized vessels with engines of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more. Any vessel can apply for a PCL, however, and there is some value in having such a significant investment documented with authorities. To obtain your PCL, you will need to complete an application and submit a bill of sale along with a photograph of your vessel to Transport Canada. Once issued, your PCL will assign your vessel a registration number, which must be displayed in digits of at least three inches in height on both sides of your boat’s bow. Your PCL will be valid for a period of 10 years, at which point you will have the opportunity to submit a renewal request to Transport Canada.

Transport Canada Pleasure Craft License

Getting Your PCL Online the Easy Way

If you need a PCL, you have a couple of options for submitting an application. You can visit Transport Canada’s website, locate the correct application, download it, print it out, fill it in by hand, and mail it to their office in Ottawa for processing. If that sounds like a time-consuming hassle, you can also work with us instead. We are a private service that makes it easy to apply for your Transport Canada documentation online. To learn more, take a look around our site.