This page explains what a Pleasure Craft License is, who needs one, how to apply for one, and how to keep your information up to date.
Understand the differences between a pleasure craft, pleasure craft licence, vessel registration and pleasure craft operator card
A pleasure craft is a vessel that is used for pleasure, recreation, or daily living and doesn’t carry passengers. A "passenger" is a person who has paid a fee to be transported in a commercial vessel. A "guest" doesn’t need to pay a fee. Please read Pleasure Craft vs. Non Pleasure-Craft for more information.
Pleasure craft licence
If you operate a pleasure craft that is equipped, even temporarily, with one or more engines whose total power is at least 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more in Canada, you must have a Pleasure Craft Licence unless you have registered it in the Canadian Register of Vessels.
A pleasure craft licence is a document with a unique number displayed on both sides of the bow of a pleasure craft. The pleasure craft licence is like a licence plate on your car. This number allows police and search and rescue personnel to access important information in an emergency. You may be fined $250 if your pleasure craft does not have a valid licence or is not registered. The Pleasure Craft Licence is not proof of ownership, and is valid for 10 years. You can check the expiry date of your pleasure craft licence with your licence number.
You need to register your vessel if:
- you are going to use your vessel commercially and it’s powered by motors totalling 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more
- you plan to use your vessel outside of Canada
- you need a marine mortgage registered with Transport Canada
- you require a reserved name
When a vessel is registered it’s recorded in the Canadian Register of Vessels and it is assigned an official number.
If you are not sure whether you need a pleasure craft licence or you need to register your vessel you can:
- Check whether you need to licence or register your pleasure craft
- Find more information about licensing and registration
Pleasure craft operator card (PCOC)
Like a driver’s licence for your car, a PCOC is a proof of competency that demonstrates an understanding of the basic rules for safely operating a pleasure craft. If you do not have a PCOC, you can get one by taking a boating safety course and passing a boating safety test available through a Transport Canada accredited course provider. Courses are available in the classroom and online. See if you meet the requirement for proof of pleasure craft operator competency. A PCOC is valid for life.