When is a Boat License Renewal Required?

Boat License Renewal

If you are like most Canadian boat owners, you daydream all winter long about getting your boat on the lake during the warm summer months. It is hard to beat that first warm, summer day out on the water. As you cruise around with your friends and family, those days of shoveling snow can feel like distant memories. Of course, as you undoubtedly know, owning a boat isn’t always pure leisure–it can be a lot of work too. When you first pull your vessel out of storage, it will usually call for a thorough cleaning. This is also a good occasion to check in on routine maintenance and perhaps change your oil. As you gear up your vessel and bring it down to the marina or dock for launch, you may also want to take a look at your boat’s documentation status with Transport Canada. Discovering that you have an expired license or registration can quickly put a damper on a potential day at the lake. Fortunately, it is possible to process a boat license renewal online, and we can help.

While being a boat owner can give you a sense of freedom that is tough to match, it also comes with a high degree of responsibility. It is up to you to safely operate your vessel and ensure the well-being of your passengers at all times. For this reason, a boating license–officially called a pleasure craft operator card (PCOC)–can sometimes be a requirement for boat owners. You may also need to obtain either a vessel registration or a pleasure craft license (PCL) from Transport Canada. As the nation’s main transportation agency for matters on both land and sea, Transport Canada has a vested interest in keeping track of who and what is on our way. With that in mind, it is a must that you keep your documentation current, as it demonstrates that you are boating within the parameters of the law.

Understanding the Boat License Renewal Process

Before you start panicking about the status of your boat license or registration, you should first assess what you are working with. A pleasure craft license will be mandatory for any leisure vessel that has an engine of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more. A vessel registration is required when a boat is traveling on international waters under the Canadian flag, being used for commercial purposes, or carrying financing in the form of a bank loan. 

When you first receive your PCL, your registration numbers (and the license itself), will be valid for a period of 10 years. Vessel registrations, on the other hand, will require a renewal every three years. Transport Canada will send you a reminder when it’s time to renew, so it is prudent to keep your mailing address current with their records. 

Boat License Renewal

Renew Your License Online

You can use our web forms to renew your license or registration online. Just select the correct option from our easy-to-read navigation menu and you will be brought to a streamlined, fillable form. If you would like to learn more about our services, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.