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Registering a New Boat in Canada: How It Works

Aug 5, 2023 | Blog, Financing

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Are you in the market for a new sea-faring vessel? Don’t make the purchase and hit the open waters just yet; you might want to familiarize yourself with the process of registering a new boat first.

As the go-to source of boat financing in Canada, we at Canada Powersports Financing often encounter people who don’t know much about national maritime laws. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide with the most crucial details to ensure your application experience proceeds without a hitch!

The Semantics: Boating License vs. Registration

Let’s start with the basics: a license and a registration number are two different things. If you plan to operate a pleasure craft, a private vessel for recreation or daily living, it’s mandatory to obtain a PCL license from Transport Canada at no charge. 

A license number identifies your boat, providing crucial information for search and rescue teams during emergencies. Registration is optional but slightly more official, as the government actively tracks the craft’s ownership and gives it a permanent number. It brings many advantages, such as:

  • The right to fly the Canadian flag
  • Proof of ownership (a legal title)
  • Giving your boat a unique name
  • The right to use your vessel as security for a marine mortgage (boat lien)

However, registering becomes a mandatory requirement for the following:

  • Those who want to acquire a vessel in Canada through financing
  • Commercial vessels with a 7.5 kW motor or higher and a gross tonnage of 15 or less
  • Commercial river rafts
  • Barges

The Application Process to Register Your Boat

To register your vessel in Canada, you must complete the necessary forms. You must also provide a statement of your qualifications as the owner, proof of ownership, boat measurements, and the Small Vessel Register fee.

You will have to enter your boat into the Large Vessel Register if your boat will be travelling outside of Canada or for the following:

  • A gross tonnage of 15 or higher with a 7.5 kW motor rating or higher
  • A marine mortgage
  • A reserved name

After paying and registering your new boat, the government will send you a Certificate of Registry that shows the vessel number (beginning with a “C”). It usually arrives in 30 to 45 working days, so plan accordingly if you want to get on the water.

Don’t Forget to Mark Your Registered Vessel!

Once you successfully register, you need to display the boat’s number. It requires at least a 10cm marking on both sides of the bow, plus the vessel’s name and designated port. You must also have information about the tonnage and other details etched inside the vessel. 

And you are allowed to switch up the fonts as long as the colour stands out from the background.

We hope this guide has helped you understand more about registering a new boat. If you still need to acquire one, we can help! With Canada Powersports Financing, buying a used boat or new vessel becomes possible without breaking the bank—call (343) 307-4958 today!

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