Procedures for Registration in Canada

Vessels are registered in Canada in accordance with the provisions set forth in Part 2 of the Canada Shipping Act 2001 (CSA 2001).

Mandatory registration: The Act provides that the owner(s) be qualified to be registered as owner(s), i.e. Canadian citizen or a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province and that the vessel is not registered in a foreign country. Section 46 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 states:

Mandatory registration of vessels
46. (1) A vessel must be registered under this part if it

  1. is not a pleasure craft;
  2. is wholly owned by qualified persons; and
  3. is not registered, listed or otherwise recorded in a foreign state.
Obligation of owner
(2) Every owner of a vessel described in subsection (1) shall ensure that it is registered under this Part.
Optional registration: The following vessels may be registered under Part 2 Section 47 of the Canada Shipping Act 2001 (CSA 2001), unless they are registered in a foreign country:
  1. a pleasure craft that is wholly owned by qualified persons;
  2. a vessel that is owned by a corporation incorporated under the laws of a foreign state if one of the following is acting with respect to all matters relating to the vessel, namely:
    1. a subsidiary of the corporation, that is incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province,
    2. an employee, or director in Canada of any branch office of the corporation that is carrying on business in Canada, or
    3. a vessel management company, incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province; and
  3. A vessel that is in the exclusive possession of a qualified person under a financing agreement under which the person will acquire ownership on completion of the agreement.

Vessels under construction: A vessel that is about to be built or that is under construction in Canada may be temporarily recorded in the Register as a vessel being built in Canada. For further information on recording your vessel, you should contact the Registrar at your chosen Port of Registry.

Documentation for Registration

  1. Select at least three names for the vessel Application for Registry [PDF Version] and have it approved by the Chief Registrar, through the Registrar of Vessels at your Port of Registry. The payment of the fee must accompany the Notice of Name form. Please refer to the Vessels Registry Fees Tariff for information on the costs associated with registration or contact your Port of Registry.
  2. Complete the Application for Registry [PDF Version] and submit it to your Port of Registry.
  3. Produce evidence of ownership/title to the Registrar of Vessels:

    Canadian-built: In the case of a newly-built vessel, which has been constructed for the applicant, the evidence consists of a Builder's Certificate [PDF Version]. Otherwise, the evidence consists of the Builder's Certificate and any intervening Bill(s) of Sale demonstrating complete sequence of title to the applicant for registration.

    Foreign-built: In the case of a newly-built vessel the evidence consists of a Builder's Certificate and any intervening Bills of Sale forming complete sequence of ownership from the builder to the applicant for registration.

    Otherwise, the evidence consists of the original Bill of Sale from the last foreign owner to the applicant for registration, duly authenticated by a Canadian consular officer, and any intervening Bill(s) of Sale demonstrating complete sequence of title from the last foreign owner to the applicant for registration. However, if the Bill of Sale has been executed previously, and under seal of a foreign or Canadian notary, or a lawyer, the customary authentication is not required.

    Further, if at the time of application, the vessel was registered in a foreign country, before Canadian registration could be effected, the owner shall provide evidence in the form of an original or true copy of a written document, such as a Deletion Certificate or an Abstract or Transcript of Registry. This provides proof that the foreign registry is closed and is free and clear of all encumbrances. The Registrar at the vessel's foreign port of registry issues these documents.
  4. Furnish a Statement of Qualification for Vessel Registration [PDF Version] to prove eligibility to be registered as owner.
  5. Appoint an Authorized Representative [PDF Version], if required.
  6. Have the vessel measured for tonnage under Canadian rules. The tonnage of vessels may be determined in accordance with the Vessel Registration and Tonnage Regulations and TP 13430, either by using the Assigned Formal Tonnage, the Simplified Method or by a duly appointed Tonnage Measurer:
    • For vessels of not more than 12 metres in length, you can choose to use the “Assigned Formal Tonnage” (non-calculated tonnage).  Assigned Formal Tonnage simply means linking a tonnage number to the length of the vessel.  Should you require an accurate tonnage calculation, use Form 4A or Form 4B.
      • Less than 8.5m = gross tonnage of 4.99
      • More than 8.5m but not more than 10.5m = gross tonnage of 9.99
      • More than 10.5m but not more than 12m = gross tonnage of 14.99
    • If the vessel is to be measured using the Simplified Method, this method applies for the following vessels:
      1. Monohull vessels up to and including 15 metres tonnage measurement length (TML) – use Form 4A Simplified Method of Tonnage Measurement [PDF Version]
      2. “Monohull vessel” means a vessel having not more than a single tier of deckhouses and/or superstructures (including breaks that are also being regarded as one tier of superstructures) whose total combined length does not exceed 70% of TML to be measured.
      3. Simple multihull vessels up to and including 15 metres tonnage measurement length (TML) – use Form 4B Tonnage Measurement of a Simple Multihull Vessel [PDF Version]
      4. Simple multihull vessel” means a flat platform installed on two or more pontoons.

For more details, please refer to the Simplified Method of Tonnage Measurement [PDF Version] for monohull vessels and to the Tonnage Measurement of a Simple Multihull Vessel [PDF Version] for simple multihull vessels.

If the vessel is to be measured by a Tonnage Measurer, you can either contact your Port of Registry or refer to Tonnage Measurements.

Pay the basic registration fee for first registration, which is $250.00. Fees are payable by Visa, Mastercard or AMEX.

If you are choosing to pay by cheque/money order, it is to be made payable to the RECEIVER GENERAL FOR CANADA

All required forms are available from any Port of Registry across Canada, or online by selecting Vessel Registration Forms or from Transport Canada's Forms Catalogue.

Vessel Registration
Operations & Environmental Programs
Marine Safety
Safety and Security
Transport Canada
330 Sparks Street, 10th Floor
Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0N8

North American toll free no. 1-877-242-8770 or
Telephone: 1-613-991-3150
Facsimile: 1-613-998-0637