June 20, 2017

VesselDuring our Recreational Vessel Checks (RVCCs) we often get asked when will those who have had a Pleasure Craft License for several years in their name be asked to renew under the new 10 year Pleasure Craft License renewal program.

Here is the answer that Joe Gatfield, Past Chief Commander, recently received from Transport Canada:

“If you were licensed under the old system prior to 2011, you will not have an expiry date on your Pleasure Craft License document. This license will never expire. The only time you will have to "update" it is if you've had a change of address, name, changes to the vessel etc. In that case the Pleasure Craft License must be updated. Once the license is updated, you will have to renew every 10 years. If there never is a need to update the license because there are no changes to any of the above mentioned factors, then the license remains without an expiry for as long as you own the boat. Once the boat is sold, the new owner transferring the Pleasure Craft License, will come under the 10 year system.”

How do you get a Pleasure Craft License for your boat?

First let’s start by defining a Pleasure Craft License. All too often the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is referred to as a boating license. It is not. It is a certificate much like a school diploma. As such, it identifies a level of competency, is good for life and cannot be taken away.

On the other hand, a Pleasure Craft License is a paper license similar to your vehicle registration form and it is represented by the 7.5 cm (3 in) letters and numbers that should be found on each side of the bow of your vessel. A copy of the paper license must be carried on board your boat at all times.

Application for Pleasure Craft License

There are two ways to apply for a Pleasure Craft License. You can apply by regular mail or you can now apply online.

To obtain, transfer or change information on a Pleasure Craft License go to the Transport Canada web site Search Pleasure Craft License and that will take you right to the section you are looking for. All of the information, forms and how to use the mail in or on-line process is there and easy to follow. For French just click Francais in the upper right hand corner.

Use the application process and form to:
• apply for a new license;
• transfer an existing license (when you buy a used boat, it is your responsibility to transfer the Pleasure Craft License);
• update your license information:
• obtain a duplicate license: or
• cancel a license.

Why do I need a Pleasure Craft License?
A valid pleasure craft license helps law enforcement and search and rescue workers identify pleasure craft in emergency situations. Bylaw, any pleasure craft, including personal watercraft, that is powered by one or more motors adding up to 10 hp (7.5 kW) or more must have a valid license. You must display the license number on both sides of the bow of your boat in block characters that are at least 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) high, in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the bow.

Currently there is no charge for a pleasure craft license.