Licensing a pleasure craft: Before you apply

A pleasure craft licence is a unique identification number. It helps trace a vessel to its owner. In an emergency, law enforcement and search and rescue organizations can use this number to locate a vessel.

You will be fined $250 if your pleasure craft does not have a valid licence, or is not registered. If you’re not sure whether you need this licence, you can:

Note: If you’re buying a pleasure craft that is already licensed, you must transfer the licence from the previous owner. If you bought the boat outside of Canada, you will need a new Canadian pleasure craft licence or registration. You will also need to remove the old marking.

Before you apply

Whether you’re applying online or by mail, gather all the documents you will need. If we don’t receive the correct documents, you will have to apply again.

List of documents you will need

When you are applying for a new licence, you need to send the following documents with your application. If you are applying and are someone other than the boat’s owner, you will also need to include a Third-Party Authorization Letter. To get an example of this letter please contact us.

Proof of ownership or bill of sale

To establish proof of ownership, we accept documents that have the following information:

  • name, address and signature of previous owner
  • name and signature of new owner
  • description of the pleasure craft (make, model and other details requested on the application form)
  • hull serial number (HIN) (if available)
  • pleasure craft licence number (if already licensed)

Documents we consider to be valid proof of ownership (depending on the application type) include the following:

  • bills of sale
  • statutory declarations
  • wills and bequests
  • separation or divorce agreements
  • court judgments
  • signed agreements of transfer of ownership (sale/purchase agreement)

Note: You will need to provide a statutory declaration as proof of ownership if:

  • you did not get or have lost your proof of ownership
  • you can’t contact the person who sold you the boat
  • you built your own boat
Valid government-issued identification for each owner
  • provincial/territorial birth certificate
  • certificate of Canadian citizenship
  • valid Canadian passport
  • provincial/territorial driver's licence
  • other forms of government-issued identification (preferably with a photograph)

Note: Provincial/territorial health cards are not accepted. If you are a resident of another country, we accept government-issued identification from your own country.

Full side-view colour photograph of the pleasure craft
  • Minimum resolution: 300 DPI
  • Maximum file size: 5 MB
  • File format: PDF, JPG, TIFF or PNG

Note: We don’t accept stock photographs.