Licensing a pleasure craft

From Transport Canada

A Pleasure Craft Licence is a document with a unique licence number for a pleasure craft. The number serves as identification for the vessel and allows search and rescue personnel to access important information in an emergency. No fee is required to get this licence.

A vessel used for pleasure, recreation, or daily living is a pleasure craft.

On this page …

Determining whether a Pleasure Craft Licence is required

Every pleasure craft must have a Pleasure Craft Licence, with the following exceptions:

  • a pleasure craft using a motor with less than 10 horsepower (7.5 kW)
  • a pleasure craft that has a vessel registration
  • a pleasure craft that was purchased less than 90 days previously (this is a grace period, during which the new owner must carry documentation with their name and address and the purchase date)

Obtaining a Pleasure Craft Licence

There are two ways to apply for a Pleasure Craft Licence.

Apply by regular mail

To apply for a Pleasure Craft Licence by regular mail, download and fill out the application form along with all other required documents. The form and instructions about what documents to attach are available in the following application package.

Then you must print the form and mail it along with the other required documents to the following Transport Canada address:

Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre
P.O. Box 2006
Fredericton, New Brunswick
E3B 5G4

Apply online

To apply for a Pleasure Craft Licence online, access the Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System and follow all instructions.

Note: An advantage of applying online is that you receive an acknowledgment number. This number, when marked on the side of your pleasure craft, allows you to use your pleasure craft for 90 days while you await your Pleasure Craft Licence.

More information about obtaining a Pleasure Craft Licence

For more detailed information on how to apply, see Applying for a Pleasure Craft Licence or Dealer's Guide to Pleasure Craft Licensing.

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

Using a Pleasure Craft Licence

After you receive your Pleasure Craft Licence, you must use it as follows:

  • Carry the Pleasure Craft Licence on board the vessel at all times.
  • Display the number on both sides of your boat's bow. The number must appear in block characters which are:
    • at least 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) high
    • in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the bow

There is a $250 fine if you are found operating a vessel without a licence.

Renewing or updating a Pleasure Craft Licence

A Pleasure Craft Licence is valid for 10 years. At the end of that period, you must renew your licence.

If you change your name, address, or particulars of the pleasure craft after you obtain a Pleasure Craft Licence, you must update your licence.

You may renew or update a licence by regular mail or online, using the procedures outlined above at Obtaining a Pleasure Craft Licence.

Contact information

For any questions about the Pleasure Craft Licensing program, please call the Boating Safety Infoline at 1-800-267-6687 or contact us by e-mail: obs-bsn@tc.gc.ca.

Did you find this information helpful?

Date modified: