Last Update: 27 April, 2014

Boat Licensing and Regulations

Much of the information provided below comes from a great website called: Pat's Boating in Canada. We have gleaned some of the following information from this site and added some of our own. However, please feel free to visit that site for a whole list of good information:

Once into that website, you will find a very long list of links on the left hand side for just about everything you always wanted to know about boating but were afraid to ask!

Other websites include:

The following is a very condensed view of information from Pat's Boating website as well as some local information, contacts and government links that we have added.

Licensing:

Licences are required on all pleasure crafts with motors greater than 10 HP. Boaters are required to have a copy of the licence AND proof of ownership on board. If you currently have a licence number on the side of your boat such as, 32E12345 or ON12345, you must keep a copy of the Pleasure Craft Licence Form on board at all times. The OPP are stopping boats and asking for this along with all necessary safety equipment and devices. The fine is $110 per incident.

If you have your ownership papers but no licensing papers, you need only go to a Government Services Canada (GSC) Centre and they will complete all the paperwork and issue the licence at no cost. There are two in our area:

Services Canada
46 Lansdowne
Carleton Place, Ontario
613.257.3344

and

Services Canada
13 Herriott
Perth, Ontario
613.267.1921

Rules and Regulations:

A Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) began in April 1999 with young operators. By 2009, a Pleasure Craft Operator Card is required for operating any powered boat.

PCOCs are required NOW for anyone operating a motorised boat under 4 metres (13.1') or if you were born after 01 April, 1983 (about 25), operating boat with motor.

Currently, all boat operators will need a PCOC or other proof of competency to operate any boat with a motor.

Age restrictions: Operators under 16 cannot operate personal watercraft (PWC). Operators under 12 are restricted to 10 hp (7.5kw) unless supervised by someone 16 or older. Operators 12-16 years old are restricted to 40 hp (30kw) unless supervised by someone 16 or older.

Boat Licence & Registration:

All pleasure craft measuring 12 metres or less and powered by an engine 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or more must be licensed or registered. Licensing is the normal choice for a pleasure craft. Legally and cost-wise, licensing and registration are very different legally, as well as your time and cost. A licensed boat is marked with "numbers", a registered boat with a "name and port". Licence requirements are listed in the Small Vessel Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act.

Required Boat Safety Equipment:

Small Vessel Regulations, require all equipment carried on board be in good working order, maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions, and available immediately, in case of emergency. Again, the OPP are out checking this and will levy a $110 fine for each default incident.

The following is a sample of the equipment required on all boats. The list varies with the length of boat.

Powered Craft up to 6 metres in length (19'8")
1 approved and properly sized lifejacket (yellow, red or orange) or PFD (personal floatation device) for each person on board.
15 m (50') buoyant heaving line.
1 manual propelling device [oar] OR anchor with 15 m (50') of cable, rope or chain.
1 bailer OR manual pump with enough hose to pump water overboard [Not required for multi-hull vessel that has subdivided multiple-sealed hull construction.]
1 Class 5BC fire extinguisher if vessel has inboard engine OR a fixed fuel tank OR fuel-burning heater, stove, or refrigerator.
1 watertight flashlight OR 3 flares* of Type A, B or C.
Sound signalling device (horn)
Navigation lights must comply with Collision Regulations [Not required unless operated at night or in restricted visibility.]

Unpowered Craft up to 6 metres in length (19'8")
1 approved and properly sized lifejacket (yellow, red or orange) or PFD (personal floatation device) for each person on board.
1 buoyant heaving 15 metres.
one manual propelling device OR an anchor with 15 m (50') of cable, rope or chain
one Class 5BC fire extinguisher, if equipped with an inboard engine, a fixed fuel tank, or a fuelburning stove, fridge or heater.
1 hand-bailer OR manual pump with enough hose to pump water overboard [Not required for any self-bailing sealed hull sailboat that cannot contain enough water to make the vessel capsize OR a multi-hull vessel that has subdivided multiple-sealed hull construction.]
Sound signalling device
Navigation lights must comply with Collision Regulations [Not required unless operated at night or in restricted visibility.]

6 - 8 metres in length (19'8"-26'3")
1 approved and properly sized lifejacket (yellow, red or orange) or PFD (personal floatation device) for each person on board.
1 buoyant heaving 15 metres OR a life buoy 610 or 762 mm diameter (24"-30") attached to a buoyant line 15 m (50').
a reboarding device [ladder] if the freeboard of the vessel is greater than 0.5 m.
1 manual propelling device (oar) OR 1 anchor with 15 m (50') cable, rope or chain.
1 hand-bailer OR manual pump with enough hose to pump water overboard.
1 Class 5BC fire extinguisher if vessel is powered or A second Class 5BC extinguisher if there is a fuel-burning stove, fridge, or heater.
Watertight flashlight.
Navigation lights must comply with Collision Regulations [Not required unless operated at night or in restricted visibility.]
Sound signalling device.
6 approved distress flares: three A, B, or C [Not required if vessel is engaged in racing AND has no beds/bunks; not required in inland waters where boat is never more than 1 nautical mile from shore.]

For other lengths or restrictions, please visit the Pat's Boating in Canada website or: