What is a Pleasure Craft License in Canada? Transport Canada

What is a pleasure craft license in Canada?

A pleasure craft licence is a document with a unique licence number for a pleasure craft. So do not confuse pleasure craft license with the pleasure craft operator card which is actually the card that operators of power boats must have on board their vessel at all times.

The law requires all pleasure craft powered by 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more engine, to have a pleasure craft license. 

The pleasure craft licensing system allows Search and Rescue personnel to access information 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the event of an emergency.

Canadian boat license

What is a boating license (PCOC)?

Like a driver’s licence for your car, a PCOC is a proof of competency that demonstrates an understanding of the basic rules for safely operating a pleasure craft. If you do not have a PCOC, you can get one by taking a boating safety course and passing a boating safety test available at Aceboater.com.  See if you meet the requirement for proof of pleasure craft operator competency. A PCOC is valid for life.

What types of pleasure craft do I need to license?

A licence or registration is mandatory for all pleasure craft equipped with motors of 10 horsepower (7.5 kilowatts) or more, including personal watercraft, which are principally maintained or operated in Canada.

How long is a pleasure craft license valid for?

The pleasure craft licenses are valid for 10 years. If there are changes to your name or address in that time, you must update your license.

How should I display the license number on my pleasure craft?

You must display your pleasure craft license number above the waterline on both sides of the bow, as far forward as practical, and where it is easy to see. The numbers must be in block letters, at least 7.5 cm (3”) high, and must contrast with the colour of the background. You do not need a pleasure craft license if a boat is registered

You must carry a copy of your Pleasure Craft License on board at all times and display the pleasure craft license number on the bow of your boat above the waterline on both sides in block characters.

display the pleasure craft license number

Do I have to pay a fee to obtain a pleasure craft licence?

No fee is required to get a pleasure craft license.

How do I get a pleasure craft license?

The online Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System (PCELS) is the preferred and quickest method in applying for a pleasure craft licence.

Applicants can submit their request for a new, a transfer, or an update of the Pleasure Craft Licence, electronically.

By completing the application request online, and uploading the required supporting documentation, an acknowledgment number (valid for 90 days from the initial issue date) will be issued and returned to the applicant by e-mail. The acknowledgment number is to be marked on either side of the pleasure craft, allowing the pleasure craft owner to use their vessel immediately.

Is there a fine if I do not have a pleasure craft licence?

There is a fine of $250 if you are found to be operating a vessel without a valid licence. However, if you decided to register your vessel instead of licensing it, there is no fine.