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Things to Know Before Buying a Boat
 
Buying a New Boat
 
If you are buying a new boat in Canada, or the United States make sure it has:
If you see a new boat for sale that does not have the required hull serial number and Canadian or US compliance notice (if it applies), ask the seller to get them for you before you buy. It is the manufacturers 'and importers' responsibility to demonstrate that the boats that they sell in Canada or the United States meet the Canadian or US construction requirements.
 
Buying a Used Boat
 
If you are thinking about buying a used boat, the first thing you should do is make sure that it meets the construction requirements that were in force when it was built. A good way to do this is to hire a marine surveyor to examine the boat, who will give you a fair opinion on the boat’s current condition and will let you know what changes (if any) will need to be made to bring the boat up to standard. If you have already bought a boat that does not have the required hull serial number or compliance notice, you should request one from the original manufacturer or importer. If you are unable to obtain them, you do not need to take additional actions. However, make sure you are able to prove that you have made reasonable attempts to obtain them.
 
REMEMBER:
 
A Canadian compliance notice indicates that the boat met the construction requirements at the time it was built. Changes to the boat over time may mean that the compliance notice is no longer valid. Once you own the boat, you must make sure that it meets the standard when you operate it on the water — so get all the facts before you buy 
Buying a Boat From Another Country
 
If you are buying a boat from another country, remember that:
  
Construction requirements for pleasure craft differ from country to country.
 
Make sure that the boat meets the Small Vessel Regulations construction requirements that are in force on the day it entered Canada or the US. If the boat does not meet these requirements, make sure that you can modify the boat to meet them before you operate it.
 
Other requirements you must meet are:
 
Import requirements.
 
When you plan to bring the boat to Canada or the US the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or the U.S.  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires that you have specific documents, as well as information on the boat and the seller to confirm the sale and assess the duties and taxes on the boat. Before buying the boat, visit the CBSA or CBP online or contact them to find out what you will need from the seller to bring the boat into Canada, or the United States. If you are towing the boat on a trailer, contact the CBSA or CBP to learn more about the requirements you should meet.
 
Export requirements.
 
Contact the appropriate authorities in the country where you plan to buy the boat (and the trailer if you are buying one) to find out if any export requirements apply. Buying a Trailer A trailer is considered a motor vehicle. This means that different requirements apply to it than to your boat. If you plan to buy a trailer, contact your State, provincial or territorial transportation office to learn about any requirements that may apply.
 
LICENSING AND REGISTRATION IN CANADA
 
 
A Canadian pleasure craft may be licensed or registered. Pleasure Craft Licence If you operate or keep your boat mostly in Canada, and it is powered by one or more motors adding up to 7.5 kW (10 hp) or more, you must get it licensed, unless you register it. You must also license dinghies or tenders you carry aboard or tow behind a larger boat.
 
A pleasure craft licence
 
Is a document giving your boat a unique licence number that is valid for 10 years. The Pleasure Craft Licensing System allows Search and Rescue personnel to access information about your boat 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the event of an emergency. This could mean the difference between life and death! If your boat does not need a pleasure craft licence, you can choose to get one for safety reasons.
 
HOW CAN YOU GET A LICENCE?
 
 
Application forms are available on our website.
• Follow the instructions included in the form to fill out the appropriate sections.
• Attach all the required documents to the completed signed form.
• Mail the documents to the Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre at the mailing address indicated in the instructions.
 
REMEMBER:
 
This is the only way to complete the pleasure craft licence application process. You cannot complete the process in person nor by sending your information to your local Transport Canada office. Once you get your pleasure craft licence, keep a copy on board.
 
 
What a Licence Number Looks Like? 
 
You must display the pleasure craft licence number on your boat:
  • on both sides of the bow;
  • above the waterline;
  • as far forward as practical; and
  • where it is easy to see. The characters must be:
  • in block letters;
  • at least 7.5 cm (3”) high; and
  • of a colour that contrasts with the background.
 
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Get Your Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Card!
 
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You can get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card by passing a boating safety test available through a Transport Canada accredited course provider. These course providers help recreational boaters gain basic boating safety knowledge through flexible education and testing options including classroom, Internet, and self study. Transport Canada (TC) recommends taking a boating safety course as the best way to prepare for the test. Taking a course, while not required, is a small investment that has a big payoff: it will make you more aware of safe boating practices, prevention measures, and practical ways to reduce risks. The course itself covers a full range of basic boating information such as:
 
  • the minimum safety equipment required on board your boat; 
  • what Canadian buoys look like and what they mean;
  • how to share waterways;
  • a review of regulations that relate to pleasure boating; and how to respond in an emergency.
Boating safety course and test services are available only through accredited private-sector course providers listed on our website.