Pleasure Craft Licence Information

There are Changes in Applying for a Pleasure Craft Licence

Did you know that any pleasure craft powered by a motor over 10 hp (7.5 kW) must have a valid licence? A pleasure craft licence allows search and rescue personnel and other agencies to quickly identify your boat in the event of an emergency.

You now have two (2) options to help you request your free Pleasure Craft Licence:

Electronically (the preferred method), or by Post.

Electronically: Transport Canada, the Office of Boating Safety is offering the online Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System (PCELS) as the preferred and quickest method in applying for a pleasure craft licence.

Not only will you be able to apply for a Pleasure Craft Licence online, the following transactions can also be done, thereby reducing the mailing time:

  1. You can request the transfer of a Canadian licensed pleasure craft to your name.
  2. You can update your information (change of address; telephone number, contact information, as well as advise us of any changes made to your boat).
  3. You can request a duplicate copy of your pleasure craft licence.
  4. You can submit an application for the renewal of your pleasure craft licence (this feature will be available in a future release).

You will be required to upload supporting documentation to validate your request. Please have the documents in the proper file format ready for upload before you start the online process.  Supporting documents may include:

  1. The proof of ownership or bill of sale document;
  2. A signed copy of a valid piece of government-issued identification from each owner whose name is to appear on the pleasure craft licence;
  3. A current full side-view colour photo of the pleasure craft.
  4. If you are submitting the application and documents on behalf of someone else, you will require the “ Third Party Authorization Letter”, if applicable.
  • The minimum print resolution per document is 300 dpi (dots per inch).
  • The maximum size for upload of any file is 5 MB (five megabytes). Only the following file formats are acceptable:
    • PDF, JPG, TIFF or PNG.
  • If your digital camera produces a file format other than those mentioned above, you will need to use the software that came with your camera to convert the images to the proper format.
  • The submitted documents must be clear and legible; otherwise you will receive an e-mail advising you to resubmit the document, and the processing of your application will be delayed.

A colour photograph of the pleasure craft is required for the following transactions:

  • New, Transfer, Updates, Renewals and Cancellations of a pleasure craft licence (photograph not required for Duplicate).

Stock photographs of a pleasure craft will not be accepted.

For further information and an example of an acceptable photograph of a pleasure craft, please click here.

By completing the application request online, and uploading the required supporting documentation, an acknowledgment number (valid for 90 days from the initial issue date) will be issued and returned to the applicant by e-mail. The acknowledgment number is to be marked on either side of the pleasure craft, allowing the pleasure craft owner to use their vessel immediately.

If any supporting documentation is found to be missing, an e-mail will be sent on the 45th and 75th days after the initial request for a pleasure craft licence was submitted, notifying the applicant of the missing documentation and providing a URL whereby the document can be uploaded in order to validate the pleasure craft licensing request.

If the requested document is not received within 90 days, the application for a pleasure craft licence is automatically rejected and the acknowledgment number is cancelled.

THE ISSUED ACKNOWLEDGMENT NUMBER CANNOT BE REINSTATED once the initial application has been rejected and the applicant will have to resubmit their pleasure craft licence request as well as provide all the supporting documentation.

Upon resubmission, a new acknowledgment number will be issued. The marking of the pleasure craft with the new number will be the owner’s responsibility.

Upon verification of the application and supporting documentation, the permanent pleasure craft licence will be sent to the pleasure craft owner, by the delivery method selected (e-mail or by post).

This new online submission method will eliminate the present mailing time and result in the pleasure craft owner being able to enjoy their boat sooner.


  • You must submit the paper “Application for a Pleasure Craft Licence” by post, indicating “Cancel” on the form, as well as providing the necessary supporting documentation as indicated in the Application Kit. A note explaining the reason for the cancellation must be included.

By post: If you prefer to submit your application by post, specific instructions for each transaction type can be found in the “Pleasure Craft Licence Application Kit”.

The Pleasure Craft Licence Application Kit is available for download through the Office of Boating Safety Web site or you may request a copy through the Boating Safety Infoline at 1-800-267-6687, and a paper copy will be sent to you.

NOTE: Paper copies are no longer available through the Service Canada Centre.

If you chose to send in your request by mail, the completed “Application for a Pleasure Craft Licence” as well as the required supporting documents are to be mailed to the Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre:

  1. a completed application form;
  2. a photocopy of the proof of vessel ownership;
  3. a signed photocopy of a valid piece of government-issued identification from each owner whose name is to appear on the pleasure craft licence. Further information is available on the form, as well as in our Q&A section, and
  4. a current full side-view colour photograph of the pleasure craft.
  5. If you are submitting the application and documents on behalf of someone else, you will require the “ Third Party Authorization Letter”, if applicable.

Please allow five (5) business days plus mailing time to process your application. To avoid delays, please read all of the instructions before completing and submitting the form. We will return your application package if the form is incomplete or if any supporting documents are missing.