Pleasure Craft Licensing Update

For those who have recently purchased a boat, new or used, here is some helpful information from the Transport Canada website regarding the licensing procedure:

What is a Pleasure Craft Licence?

A pleasure craft licence is a document with a unique licence number for a 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, you will receive an acknowledgment number (identical to the permanent pleasure craft licence number issued to you upon verification of your documents) which is valid for 90 days and is to be marked on the side of your pleasure craft, in order for you to use your craft immediately.

Upon verification of the application and supporting documentation, the permanent pleasure craft licence will be sent to you, by the delivery method you have selected on the form (e-mail or post).

This new online submission method will eliminate the present mailing time and result in the pleasure craft owner being able to mark their boats with the Pleasure Craft Licence number 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, 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.