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Certificate of Registry or Pleasure Craft License

Posted 5/24/2017

According to Canadian law you may choose between a registration or a pleasure craft license.

 Which of the two will fit your need or circumstance? Here are some facts that you will need to take into consideration before the choice is made.

 To begin Canadian regulations state that all vessels with a motor of 10 H.P. or 7.5 K.W. or more will need either a registration or a Pleasure Craft License within the 90 days of the purchase of the vessel.

Certificate of registry


A Certificate of Registry is issued by the Federal Government for vessels that are mainly navigated outside Canadian territory and for a prolonged period without ever coming into Canada.  With this type of registration you are permitted to choose a name and a hailing port that will ultimately be on the Certificate itself. Certificates of registry are also welcomed and most of the time required when navigating in other countries due to the fact that the local Authorities can easily research and establish ownership of a vessel by logging into the Transport Canada Website and with the official number access all information regarding the vessel and its owner(s). the information is also used for search and rescue purposes.


The Certificate of Registry is also required when the vessel is being financed. In this particular circumstance the vessel and its related mortgage are to be registered with the Federal Government. There are legal fees that are to be applied and that Transport Canada will charge for the mortgage and vessel registration.


Please note that although a Certificate of Registry is issued once the application is submitted, it is not valid if the vessel has not been marked with name and port in accordance with the Canadian Vessel requirements to keep in mind also that the Certificate of Registry does not constitute a Title of Property.


Pleasure Craft license


A pleasure craft license is issued by another division of Transport Canada and by definition it is a permit given to a vessel mainly used for recreation and for owners who intend on keeping and navigating in Canadian territory.


With a pleasure craft license the owner cannot choose a name and a port and the only marking that is permitted is the number provided by Transport Canada that will be on the Pleasure Craft License. The number issued will always start with the first 2 letters of the province where the owner resides followed by digits. This number according to Canadian maritime laws will need to be clearly visible on the hull of the vessel; no fees are applicable when applying for this type of permit, specific forms and requirements need to be submitted in order to receive the Pleasure Craft License, as well for the Certificate of registry.


One last but very important difference between the Certificate of registry and the pleasure craft license is that the later does not require for a lien to be registered with the pleasure craft license bureau, because of this we strongly suggest that a thorough and specific search for any liens be done if you are considering the purchase of a vessel with a license.


For more information please contact one of our staff and it will be a pleasure to answer any questions or assist you in the application of the Certificate of Registry or Pleasure Craft license.