Vessel Registration Office

Registration or Licensing of Vessels in Canada - Overview

Pleasure Craft

Note: : You can either “license” or “register” your pleasure craft. A “licensed” pleasure craft is different from a “registered” pleasure craft.

Licensed pleasure craft

  • There are no fees to license your pleasure craft.
  • Pleasure craft licences are required for vessels used only for recreational purposes, do not carry passengers and are powered by an engine of 10 horsepower (7.5W) or more unless they are registered in the Canadian Register of Vessels.
  • Some examples of the markings on a licensed pleasure craft are 13K123456; BC1234567, 10D123456 or QC1234567.
  • Visit the Pleasure Craft Licences: Questions and Answers page for more information on licensing your pleasure craft.

Registered pleasure craft

  • There are fees to register your pleasure craft.
  • The exterior markings on a registered pleasure craft are the name of the vessel and port of registry, e.g. JOHN DOE, Toronto, ON
  • The interior markings on a registered pleasure craft are the official number and registered tonnage, e.g. O.N. 123456, N.R.T. 4.52
  • Refer to the Canadian Register of Vessels link below for more information on registering your pleasure craft.
Note: You must register your vessel in the Canadian Register of Vessels if you require a marine mortgage on the vessel.

Canadian Register of Vessels

This type of registration is required for:

  • Vessels more than 15 gross tonnes used for commercial purposes, including government owned vessels
  • Vessels that require marine mortgages
  • Pleasure Craft: You may also choose to register in the Canadian Register of Vessels if you wish to have an approved name and port of registry for your vessel, register a mortgage, or show proof of ownership.
  • There are fees to register your vessel or pleasure craft.

Small Vessel Register (Commercial)

This type of registration is required for: 

  • Vessels less than or equal to 15 gross tonnes used for commercial purposes with propulsion motors 10 horsepower (7.5kW) or more.
  • Commercial river rafts.
  • Government-owned vessels with propulsion motors of 10 horsepower (7.5kW) or more.
  • Small commercial vessels licensed with Canada Customs prior to 1998 on behalf of Transport Canada. Please note licences issued under this system were no longer valid as of July 1st, 2012.
  • You must register your small commercial vessel in the Canadian Register of Vessels if you require a marine mortgage or have an approved name and port of registry for your vessel.