What to Know About Boat Registration Numbers

Boat Registration Numbers

There is no better way to maximize your enjoyment of the outdoors than by owning your own boat. With your own vessel, you can explore Canada’s many expansive waterways, taking in the pristine, natural beauty contained within the provinces. If you are thinking about taking the plunge into boat ownership, though, you are going to want to do a bit of research first. You are going to want to get to know the various different types of boats on the market, especially what is available within your budget. Once you have located the vessel of your dreams and closed the deal on the transaction, you are also going to want to make sure your paperwork is in good order. This means getting to know Transport Canada’s documentation requirements. Whether your boat requires registration or a pleasure craft license (PCL), you will be issued boat registration numbers, which are key to identifying your vessel and demonstrating its documentation.

Transport Canada, which is the nation’s primary transportation agency concerning our waterways, issues documentation to vessels depending on their use. If your boat is used for purely leisure purposes and has an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more, you will need to obtain a pleasure craft license. Boats that are used for commercial means, financed with a marine mortgage, or traveling on international waters under the Canadian flag require a vessel registration. By knowing which type of documentation your vessel needs, you can more quickly process the correct paperwork, getting you out onto the water as quickly as possible.

The Different Types of Boat Registration Numbers

If your boat requires a PCL–though they are available to all types of vessels–there is a process you will need to complete. You will want to fill out an application (which you can do on our website), and provide a bill of sale and photograph of your vessel to Transport Canada. Once issued, your PCL will provide you with a registration number that should be displayed on the exterior of both sides of your boat’s bow. You should display your registration number in characters of at least three inches in height that clearly contrast with the color of your boat.

To get a vessel registration, you will need to provide Transport Canada with a Form 1 – Application for Vessel Registration, a Form 3 – Statement of Qualification for Vessel Registration, a tonnage measurement, proof of ownership, and photographs of all four sides of your boat. Your registration will provide you with an official number, which only needs to be displayed on the interior of your vessel, as registered boats are identified by their unique, one-off names. 

 Boat Registration Numbers

Find the Forms You Need on Our Site

Whether you need a vessel registration or a pleasure craft license, we have fillable online forms that you can use to apply over the web. Simply locate the forms you need in our easy-to-read top navigation menu. You can also find out more information by visiting our useful Frequently Asked Questions page today.