Pleasure Craft Licenses
Source: Transport Canada
A Pleasure Craft Operator Card is sometimes called a licence to operate a boat. This is a mistake – the two are not the same.
A pleasure craft licence is the set of ID numbers displayed on your boat. You can get a free licence that is valid for 10 years from Service Canada. If your boat is already licensed, make sure that it is in your name and that your contact information is up to date.
If your boat is mostly operated or kept in Canada and is powered by one or more motors adding up to 10 hp (7.5 kW) or more, it must be licensed, unless it is registered. You will also need to license dinghies or tenders you carry aboard or tow behind a larger boat. You must keep a copy of the licence on board.
By law, you must display your pleasure craft licence 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 be in contrast with the colour of the background.
If your boat does not need a pleasure craft licence, you can choose to get one for safety reasons. 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. This could mean the difference between life and death!
Remember: A pleasure craft licence does not prove ownership and Transport Canada cannot confirm ownership of a licensed pleasure craft.
When entering another country, be sure to have proof of ownership for your boat along with its pleasure craft licence, especially for dinghies or tenders aboard or towed behind a larger boat. Not having the proper documents on board can result in delays or trouble clearing customs, or even a fine.