When Do You Need a Canada Pleasure Craft License?

Canada Pleasure Craft License

If you have been thinking about buying a boat, the summer months have probably had something to do with it. After all, we slog through the rough, long Canadian winters in order to make the most of the summertime. It is during these warmer months that you truly see the beauty in Canada’s natural offerings. If you are looking for ways to better enjoy the great outdoors, owning your own boat is a surefire way to do so. Of course, deciding to purchase a boat is not always an easy choice. For one, boats can be pretty expensive, so a vessel can be an investment that requires a lot of thought and research. There are also a wide variety of types of boats on the open market, so you will want to carefully consider the vessel that is best suited to your needs. Once you are home on the boat of your dreams and you make the seller an offer, you are nearly ready to get in the water and make waves. You may first need to complete some paperwork, though, and this commonly takes the form of a Canada pleasure craft license (PCL).

Owning a boat can be a great hobby, offering you an easy way to relax on weekend afternoons. Boats can also come with quite a bit of responsibility, however, and motorized boats in particular call for a certain degree of safety in their operation. If you are thinking about purchasing a motorized vessel, it is in your best interest to obtain a boating license, which is officially dubbed a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC). You can think of this as a sort of driver’s license for a boat. To get a PCOC, you can take a short educational course and then complete Transport Canada’s requisite exam. Your boat may also require some documentation of its own in the form of a PCL or vessel registration. Read on to learn more.

What is a Canada Pleasure Craft License?

The type of documentation that your boat will require largely depends on what it is used for. If your boat is purely for recreation and it has an engine of 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more, it will need a PCL. Any boat can get a PCL, though, and it is generally smart to get your vessel documented with Transport Canada. When you are issued a PCL, you will receive a registration number, which should be displayed on both sides of your boat’s bow in characters of at least three inches in height. Your registration number should also clearly contrast with the color of your boat’s exterior. 

Canada Pleasure Craft License

Getting a PCL Online

You can use our web forms to apply for your PCL online. Simply complete the easy-to-follow prompts on our fillable form and upload a photograph of your vessel along with proof of ownership. To learn more about some of our additional services, take a minute to browse our Frequently Asked Questions page.