Frequently Asked Questions

As of June 2014, we adopted a new pilot project, and are now accepting copies of forms received by mail, e-mail and secure facsimile. Should an original bill of sale or deletion certificate be received, we will continue to return these documents to you once your vessel has been registered.

Although we are now accepting copies, there may be some circumstances where the Registrar will request an original document if a copy is not acceptable.

All Applications may be completed and processed online using our secure service. Upon completion, forms will be reviewed by a document preparation specialist. Our specialists can help correct simple mistakes and avoid unpleasant delays.
This is the official register of all registered or listed (bare-boat charter) vessels, vessels under construction. It contains information on each vessel, such as ownership and mortgage details; and vessel characteristics such as tonnage, construction material and type.
In Canada, all non-pleasure vessels powered by an engine of 10hp (7.5kw) or more and commercial river rafts must be registered with Transport Canada’s Canadian Register of Vessels or Small Vessel Register (Commercial).
The fee is $415.00, payable by Visa, Mastercard or AMEX.
A Certificate of Registry is valid for three (3) years. Transport Canada will issue a Certificate of Registry to the owner or the authorized representative 30 days before it expires. If they do not receive the Certificate of Registry at least two weeks before the day it expires, they should contact the Registrar at the Vessel Registration Office, because a valid Certificate of Registry must be on board the vessel at all times.

To ensure that your Certificate of Registry remains valid, you must report any change(s) to the information shown on the Certificate of Registry, including a change of address, in writing, to the Vessel Registration Office within 30 days of having made the changes. If you do not, Transport Canada may suspend or cancel your registration. Anyone operating a vessel with an invalid document violates the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and is liable to prosecution.

Tonnage is not about the weight. It is a measurement of the vessel’s internal volume. Tonnage refers to the overall volume of a vessel.
Have the vessel measured for tonnage under Canadian rules using one of the following methods:

  • Non-Calculated Tonnage (Assigned Formal Tonnage)
    • Less than 8.5 m = gross tonnage of 4.99
    • 8.5m or more but less than 10 m = gross tonnage of 9.99
    • 10 m or more but less than 12m = gross tonnage of 14.99
  • Calculated Tonnage Measurement
    • For the simplified method complete one of the following forms:
      1. Simplified Method of Tonnage Measurement for monohull vessels of not more than 15 metres in length, having not more than a single tier of deckhouses and/or superstructures whose total combined length does not exceed 70% of the length;
      2. Tonnage Measurement of a Simple Multihull Vessel for simple multihull vessels of not more than 15 metres in length, consisting of a flat platform installed on two or more pontoon hulls and having no other spaces that could contribute to the volume of the vessel except the pontoons.
Your Certificate of Registry is not valid until you have your vessel marked according to requirements noted on the back of your Certificate of Registry:

  • Name and Port of Registry:

    For pleasure craft and air cushion vehicles, both the name and port of registry must be marked together on a clearly visible exterior part of the hull.
    For commercial vessels, the vessel name must be marked on each bow and the vessel name and port of registry must be marked on the stern. If the vessel has a square bow, the name may be marked on a clearly visible exterior part of the bow. You may make the markings by any means and materials that result in durable markings. All must be at least 10 cm in height, made in clearly legible letters of the Latin alphabet or Arabic or Roman numerals.

  • Registered tonnage and official number:

    Both the official number and registered tonnage shown on the Certificate of Registry must be marked in block-type Arabic numerals at least 4 cm high on a clearly visible interior structural part of the hull. Place the abbreviation:

    • “N.R.T.” before the registered tonnage
    • “O.N.” before the official number
      Note: Make sure these numbers are permanently affixed so that changes to, and attempts to remove or replace them would be obvious and cause some scarring or damage to the surrounding hull area.
For registration purposes, the property in a vessel is made up of 64 indivisible shares. Up to five people may register as joint owners of all 64 shares; and are considered as one unit, although all of their names are listed in the Canadian Register of Vessels.

You can sell a share only when all joint owners act together to sell it. You may do so using the Bill of Sale.

Please see Transfer on Death of a Joint Owner for the forms and process.
Please see Transfer of Ownership for the forms and process.
“Bare-boat Charter” means a vessel charter agreement under which the charterer has complete possession and control of the vessel, including the right to appoint its master and crew.

Bare-boat Charter (IN)

A vessel registered in a foreign country that is bare-boat chartered exclusively to a qualified person may be listed as a bare-boat chartered vessel if, for the duration of the charter, the registration is suspended in respect of the right to fly the flag of that country. The form required is the Application for Bare-boat Charter Registry.

Bare-boat Charter (OUT)

A vessel registered in Canada applying for bare-boat charter will lose its right to fly the Canadian flag while it remains on the registry of a foreign country as a bare-boat chartered vessel.

The name of a vessel is not available until the Registry is officially closed.
Section 76 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 provides access to the Canadian Register of Vessels as a public register and a person may examine or obtain copies of any entries in the Register with respect to a vessel.
A vessel is temporarily removed from active registry status when an owner/authorized representative fails to keep the registry current by not reporting changes (e.g. Change of address). You will find reasons for suspending a registration in Section 60 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
If there is a number-letter combination on the boat’s bow (e.g., 50E12345, BC12345), it is a licensed pleasure craft. To learn more about pleasure craft licensing, visit Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety or call the Boating Safety InfoLine at 1-800-267-6687. Please visit Pleasure Craft Licences: Questions and Answersfor more information.
If there is a number-letter combination on the boat’s bow (e.g., 32E 00000, BC00000), it is a licensed pleasure craft.

To learn more about pleasure craft licensing, visit Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety, or call the Boating Safety InfoLine at 1-800-267-6687. Please visit Pleasure Craft Licences: Questions and Answers for more information.

If there is a name and port of registry on the exterior part of the hull, it is a registered vessel. To learn more about registration of vessels, visit the Canadian Register of Vessels.

Licensing Registration
Fee No Yes
Exterior marking 13K123456, BC1234567, 10D12345, QC1234567 Vessel Name: “JOHN DOE”
Port of Registry: “Toronto, ON”
Interior marking None Official Number: O.N. 123456
Net Registered Tonnage: N.R.T. 10.52
Marine Mortgage No Yes
Travel Pleasure craft is principally operated and maintained in Canada Pleasure craft may travel in foreign waters

A vessel whose number begins with the letter “C” (e.g., C00000BC) is a Small Commercial Vessel, which was either licensed before July 1, 2007, or registered as of July 1, 2007 in the Small Vessel Register, and is the responsibility of Transport Canada. These licences or Certificates of Registry (Small Commercial Vessel Register) are issued by the Vessel Registration Office in the National Capital Region. To learn more about a specific licence or certificate, please contact the Vessel Registration Office in the National Capital Region by calling toll-free at 1-877-242-8770.

You must put “not applicable” or “N/A” along with your official number, e.g. N.R.T – Not applicable, ON 123456
The authorized representative has the overall responsibility for safety of the vessel. Even though not always on board, the authorized representative must ensure that the vessel’s machinery and equipment meet the requirements of the Act and Regulations.

The authorized representative is also responsible for notifying Vessel Registration should any changes be made to the vessel, including alterations, changes in address or removal from service, as per section 58 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

If the name infringes on the wares of the registered trademark or the name is a prohibited mark, it cannot be used on a registered vessel. service, as per Section 58 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
Vessels (dinghy or zodiac, etc.) that are considered part of the lifesaving equipment of the registered vessel (not used for any purpose other than evacuation) do not have to be registered but should be marked “TENDER TO [NAME AND OFFICIAL NUMBER OF THE REGISTERED VESSEL]”. If it is not part of the lifesaving equipment, then it must either be licensed or registered separately.
A vessel whose number begins with the letter “C” (e.g., C00000BC) is a small commercial vessel, which was either licensed prior to July 1, 2007, or registered as of July 1, 2007 in the Small Vessel Register. For more information on a specific licence or certificate, please contact the Vessel Registration Office in the National Capital Region by calling toll-free at 1-877-242-8770.

A vessel whose number begins with a number, and/or a letter (e.g., 32E 00000 or BC 00000) is a licensed pleasure craft. To learn more about pleasure craft licensing, visit Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety, or call the Boating Safety Info Line at 1-800-267-6687.

To close the registry of your vessel, proceed to the form for Deletion from Registry
A Certificate of Registry should not be laminated. For some authorities, laminating a certificate would invalidate it as an official document. Once a document has been laminated, it is no longer available for definitive review to determine its validity or authenticity. It is recommended to keep the Certificate in a plastic bag, pouch, etc. to protect it.
A mortgage is a legal document that creates a security for a loan or other financial consideration, whereby, the registered vessel or share or a share of it is used as security. The person using the vessel as security and receiving the loan is called the mortgagor. The person taking the vessel as security and usually giving the loan is called the mortgagee.

Only vessels registered in the Canadian Registry of Vessels can have mortgages recorded against them. To learn if a registered vessel has a mortgage, please first check the Vessel Registration Query System (VRQS). You may also request a certified or uncertified Transcript of Registry in writing to the Vessel Registration Office.

You may register a commercial ACV equal to or less than 4,500 kg/4.5 metric tonnes All-Up Weight (AUW) in either the Canadian Register of Vessels or the Small Vessel Register.

You must register a commercial ACV greater than 4,500 kg/4.5 metric tonnes AUW in the Canadian Register of Vessels.

To learn more, please call the Vessel Registration office toll-free at 1-877-242-8770.

You must provide at least two of the following:

  • Official Number
  • Vessel’s Name
  • Vessel’s Owner

Send your query either to the Registrar at the Vessel Registration Office, or call toll-free at 1-877-242-8770 or send a facsimile to 613-998-0637. Please refer to the Vessels Registry Fees to learn about the associated costs.