Pleasure Craft Licence

What is a Pleasure Craft Licence?

A pleasure craft licence is a document with a unique licence number belonging to a specific pleasure craft. The number allows Search and Rescue personnel to access important information in an emergency.

The law requires all pleasure craft powered by 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more engine, to have a pleasure craft licence, unless they have a vessel registration. There is a $250 fine if you are found operating a vessel without a licence. You must carry a copy of your Pleasure Craft Licence on board at all times and display the pleasure craft licence number on the bow of your boat above the waterline on both sides in block characters that:

  • are at least 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) high; and
  • in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the bow.

Cost: Pleasure craft licences are free and are valid for 10 years.

Clients have two submission options to choose from when requesting a new pleasure craft licence or the transfer of a Canadian-issued pleasure craft licence.

Electronically:  Transport Canada, the Office of Boating Safety is pleased to offer the online Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System (PCELS) as the preferred and quickest method in applying for a pleasure craft licence or to request a transfer, update or duplicate of an existing pleasure craft licence.

For more information on the Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System (PCELS), see our Q&A section.

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 the side of the pleasure craft allowing the pleasure craft owner to use their craft 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 an URL whereby the document can be uploaded in order to validate the pleasure craft licensing request.

For more information on required supporting documentation, please visit our Q&A website and refer to the appropriate application type.

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).

A copy of the document must be printed and kept on board the vessel at all times and the acknowledgment number is to be marked in BLOCK characters not less than 7.5 cm (3 inches) high, on each side of the bow of the boat and in a colour that contrasts with the background colour.

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.

The Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System (PCELS) can be found at the following link:

Post:  If you prefer, you may still submit your request by post. You will be requested to indicate your preferred delivery method (post or e-mail).

Application Forms

Changes to the Pleasure Craft Licensing system:

Changes to the Small Vessel Regulations have changed the Pleasure Craft Licensing Process.

  • Owners of licensed pleasure craft have up to 90 days from the date of purchase to transfer a pleasure craft licence into their name, during which time they may continue to operate the pleasure craft if documents are carried on board confirming the name and address of the new owner and the date of the transfer of ownership.
  • Pleasure craft licences are valid for 10 years. If you change your name, address, or particulars of the pleasure craft during that period, you must update your licence. You can submit your updates on-line through the “Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System” or by applying to the Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre.
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