Registering a boat in Canada

Aug 12, 2020

Registering a boat in Canada

Boaters have a choice of two types of recordings. We are talking about either a pleasure craft license (free) or a registration commonly known as Blue Book (with $ fees).

It is Transport Canada that manages boat registrations for both pleasure and commercial vessels. We focus here only on pleasure boats (non-commercial) which are owned by residents of Canada.
It is mandatory in Canada to register a boat that meets Transport Canada criteria under penalty of a fine.

There are two types of registrations or registrations.

- Registration commonly known as Blue Book
- QC 9999999 pleasure craft license (or other for other provinces).

The Blue Book

This name refers to the case in which the certificate was found, this case was blue in color. This registration makes it possible to refer to the boat via a name, the boat is therefore baptized as, for example, a boat can be called Le Dauphin or as in the example Presqu’île, Port of Montreal.

This name must be clearly visible at the rear of the boat (transom) with its port of registration. Of course, this name must be unique in Canada.

It costs around $ 250 CAD for a registration. There are all kinds of fees that apply depending on which method you take. For example, if you reserve the name in advance, you change the name after a while, the boat changes owners, etc.

The procedure is very well documented on the Transport Canada website, there are additional criteria that may apply depending on the size of the boat such as a gauge, depending on its characteristics. If the boat is the subject of a maritime mortgage, the lending institution will normally register a link on the Transport Canada website. But there is also the RDPRM in Quebec, which is not linked to the Transport Canada website.

This type of recording is most common when taking boat trips outside of Canada. Maritime authorities in other countries find it easier to find this type of registration on the internet and thus its legitimate owners.

QC type pleasure craft license

This type of registration is completely free and is done live on the Transport Canada website. You have documents to attach and it’s done. You will get your identification letters and numbers to affix to the forward part of the boat on the port and starboard sides.

Transport Canada will issue you a paper permit.

The boat must have an engine of 10 HP or more.

You can also put a name on the back of the boat, but this is then considered a decoration, it has no value and is in no way related to a license or registration.

What to choose:

The Transport Canada site is well documented and explains both types well, click here.

N.B. Registration does not refer to payment of taxes, just because your boat is registered (or with a boat license) does not mean that taxes are paid.

Here is a link to apply for a Blue Book registration: several criteria and requirements apply, refer to the Transport Canada website for a registration called Blue Book:

Here is the documentation for a free boating license (QC 9999999): Click here for the direct link.


Do not hesitate to consult a professional who understands the nuances between the two ways of registering your boat in Canada.

You should always have on board the boat your registration or registration as well as your proof of insurance and why not, your purchase contract, in fact, if you go out of Canada you will have everything in hand in order to be able to answer the customs for questions relating to taxes.

Notion of INBOND

On another note, some associate the term IN BOND with different types of records. It’s not related at all.

When we hear the term INBOND, it refers to a boat registered or registered in Canada but which has never paid the applicable taxes in Canada and in its province.

This boat cannot be used for pleasure on waterways in Canada.
However, it can be imported into Canada for repair, wintering thanks to a temporary importation authorized by the Canada Border Services Agency made under form E29-B (see this explanation on the blog).



The subject sometimes confuses boaters, we often use the terms captain’s license, boat license, boat card, boat driver card, in short we use different words to attract you to their website, but you have to make a difference with what each boater must have as proof of aptitude or competence to drive a boat (what follows the person) and the registration or registration of the boat (THE PHYSICAL PROPERTY).



It is a license that will allow you to drive a boat, you need to take a training course offered by associations or companies for a fee. The boat card or boat license has nothing to do with registration or boat license.

The brokers at ItaYachtsCanada are aware of all this, contact us at 514-521-1221

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