Presumably Transport Canada
has the answer.
Pat's Boating in Canada: Boat Licensing & Registration
Who needs it?
All pleasure craft powered by an engine
10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more must be licensed unless the boat has a vessel registration. A licence is sometimes required by foreign countries (i.e. towed dinghies in U.S. locks). Licensing is legally different from registration and is free. A licensed boat must be marked on both sides of the bow with contrasting "licence numbers" in block characters at least 7.5 cm (3") high. There are no regulations
about the stern, but it's normal to paint
a name and city.
What choices do I have if my boat is already licensed?
Keep your old number
Request a new one to get into the new government license
Enter old license
number into the new system
Where do I get a licence?
, on behalf of Transport Canada, issues vessel licences at 320 locations across the country, where you may license new vessels or transfer licenced vessel ownerships at no charge. It should take about 10 minutes to process an application and issue a licence. You have 90 days to transfer the licence of a used boat
. Starting Nov. 1, 2010, license application kits will be available online (Office of Boating
Safety) or by phone
, and you must mail these documents to the Pleasure Craft Processing Centre:
Completed application form
Proof of vessel ownership
Signed copy of valid government-issued ID
Explain boat numbering
New boat licence numbers begin with provincial digraphs (MB, ON, NB) followed by digits. Licences no longer indicates a 'port' location. If a boat has a number-letter combination on the boat's bow such as 32E9876 (E is Ontario
, 32 is Ottawa), it was licensed before 2007. If the boat has a provincial digraph followed by digits (BC12345 is British Columbia), the licence was issued by Service
Canada on behalf of Transport Canada. A license number that begins with "C" (e.g., C00000BC) is a Small Commercial
Vessel licensed prior to 2007 - these are now registered in the Small Vessel Registry of Transport Canada. It is highly recommended that pre-2007 licence owners apply for a new number at no charge, which will be entered into the new licence data system.
What is the difference between Canadian & U.S. Terminology
Many people confuse Canadian with American terms: our Canadian licensing is similar to the U.S. boat registration. Canadian registration is similar to U.S. documentation
, and usually reserved for commercial
vessels and ships.
Canadian spelling is different.
Canadian spelling changes depending on the usage of the word: "a boat licence" is spelled with a "c" when used as a noun, but is spelled with an "s" when used as a verb, such as "to license a boat" or "licensing a boat".