What is a Canadian Pleasure Craft Licence?

Most vessels operating on Canadian waterways are either licensed or registered with Transport Canada.

The only watercraft which does not currently need to be registered or licensed are things like canoes, kayaks or vessels with very limited motors (10 horsepower or less). However, Transport Canada is actively working on plans to expand its licencing program to all watercraft without exceptions. 

Generally, all other types of watercraft used for pleasure must be licensed, unless they are registered in the Canadian Registrar of Vessels.

Failing to license a boat that is required to be licensed carries a $250 fine. The same fine applies to licenses which do not have the most up to date information about the owner. That is why it is of utmost importance to keep a pleasure craft licence fully updated

An owner is always free to license her or his vessel even if it is not required to be licensed or registered.

A license for a pleasure craft is essentially a unique number which identifies the vessel and can help trace the vessel to its owner. A license number on a vessel can be used by law enforcement agencies to locate the vessel in case of an emergency.

A pleasure craft license should not be confused with a pleasure craft operator’s card, which is similar to a driver’s “license” for cars in the sense that it demonstrates the operator’s competency to operate a boat.

A licensed boat must be marked on both sides of the bow with the license number in block characters of at least 7.5 cm high:

Unlike vessel registration, a pleasure craft license is not used as legal proof of ownership of the vessel. When a vessel is sold, the owner should transfer the licence to the new owner.

For more information on vessel registration in the Canadian Registrar of Vessels and the benefits of such registration, please explore our blog.

For any information pertaining to vessel lecensing or registration, please contract us.

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