Essential Tips for Pleasure Craft Declaration

Owning a pleasure craft can be a rewarding and exciting experience, whether you enjoy leisurely cruises on the open water or thrilling water sports adventures. However, it’s important to ensure that your vessel is properly licensed and registered. There may be cases in which you purchased a used pleasure craft but didn’t receive a bill of sale or built your own boat, but now need to get a pleasure craft licence. In this article, we’ll explore the process of obtaining a pleasure craft license, understanding its expiration date, and how to declare ownership if you don’t have proof of it. We’ll also delve into the concept of a Declaration of Pleasure Craft Ownership, how to obtain one, its notarization process, and the essential details it should include.

Pleasure Craft Licence Declaration

What is a Pleasure Craft Licence?

A Pleasure Craft Licence is a legal requirement in many countries, including Canada, for individuals who own and operate pleasure craft vessels. This document serves as an essential identifier for your watercraft, ensuring its compliance with safety regulations and making it easier for authorities to locate and identify your vessel in case of emergencies.


This license is different from a pleasure craft operator card, which is often mistakenly referred to as a boating license.


Which pleasure crafts require a Pleasure Craft Licence?

All pleasure crafts in Canada are required to have a Pleasure Craft Licence, with a few specific exceptions.


Firstly, if the craft is powered by a motor that is less than 10 horsepower (7.5 kW), it is exempt from this requirement.


Additionally, if the pleasure craft is already registered under the Vessel Registration System, it does not need a separate Pleasure Craft Licence.


Lastly, there is a grace period of 90 days from the date of purchase of the craft during which a Pleasure Craft Licence is not required. This grace period allows new owners sufficient time to apply for and obtain the necessary license for their vessel.


Small boats powered by motors less than 10 horsepower do not require a Pleasure Craft License, but it is recommended to have one as it can be helpful in search and rescue situations. Remember that all operators of motorized pleasure crafts must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, regardless of the size of the boat or the engine’s power.


How Do I Get a Pleasure Craft Licence?

To obtain a Pleasure Craft Licence in Canada, you need to apply through Transport Canada, which is the issuing authority. The application process can be completed either online via the Pleasure Craft Electronic Licensing System (PCELS) or by filling out a physical application form, specifically Form 84-0172E, titled ‘Application for Pleasure Craft Licence’. Along with the application, you are required to submit several key documents. These include proof of ownership of the pleasure craft, such as a bill of sale or a builder’s contract.


Additionally, a signed photocopy of a government-issued identification (ID) is necessary to validate your identity. Lastly, to complete your application, you must provide a current, full side-view color photograph of the pleasure craft. This photograph helps in the identification and registration of your vessel under the licensing system.


A Pleasure Craft License is good for up to 10 years and must be carried on the boat at all times. The Pleasure Craft License number must appear on the boat’s bow. If you are found to be operating a boat without a licence you are subject to a fine.

What if I don’t have proof of ownership of my pleasure craft?

When purchasing a used pleasure craft, it’s common to encounter situations where you might not receive a bill of sale or any other document that formally proves your ownership. This scenario can also arise if you’ve built your own pleasure craft, as you wouldn’t have a bill of sale in such a case. However, this does not pose a significant obstacle in obtaining a Pleasure Craft Licence in Canada.


In instances where traditional proof of ownership is unavailable, you have the option to submit a ‘declaration of pleasure craft ownership’. This declaration serves as a formal statement of your ownership, providing the necessary assurance to the licensing authorities in the absence of standard documents like a bill of sale. This flexibility ensures that all pleasure craft owners, regardless of how they acquired or built their vessel, can comply with licensing requirements.


A pleasure craft ownership declaration must be signed and sworn before a notary public or commissioner for taking oaths.


What Details Should Include The Statutory Declaration?

The Statutory Declaration should include the following details:

  • New owner name and address;
  • License of the Pleasure Craft;
  • Make and model;
  • Hull serial number;
  • Hull material and colour;
  • Type of propulsion;
  • Name of previous owner; and
  • Why Bill of Sale cannot be produced?


Can declarations of pleasure craft ownership be notarized remotely?

Yes! Pleasure craft ownership declarations can be notarized virtually. Book your appointment on our website for the same-day service.