Changes to registration requirements for human-powered vessels, small motorboats

The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, last week announced important changes to Transport Canada’s small vessel registration requirements.

Owners of human-powered vessels, such as canoes, kayaks and small sailing vessels, as well as small vessels with motors less than 7.5 kilowatts (10 horsepower) will not have to register their craft with Transport Canada.

“We do not believe Canadian boaters should face onerous regulations to go canoeing and kayaking, which is why registration requirements for all human-powered vessels, small sailing vessels and small motorized vessels will not be required,” said Minister Strahl.

This registration will continue to be required for commercial river rafts, government vessels and for any vessels where registration is necessary for safety reasons.

For those vessels that still must be registered, Transport Canada is also introducing a new simplified process. For a vessel or a fleet of vessels, Transport Canada will now:

• accept a single application form; and

• charge a $50 fee, valid for five years.

Owners registering a fleet of human-powered vessels must also provide:

• the number, length or approximate length, and type of vessels in the fleet, including the Hull Identification Number (HIN) if available.

Transport Canada must be informed:

• of a change in ownership of a vessel or fleet; and

• if the vessel or fleet has been disbanded.

“What doesn’t change are the safety requirements. Small vessels, such as canoes and kayaks, their owners and users must continue to adhere to all safety requirements under the Canada Shipping Act.” added Minister Strahl.

The Canadian Register of Vessels is designed for commercial vessels. A vessel registered in the Canadian Register of Vessels is a legal entity similar to a corporation. It has Canadian “nationality” and when overseas is part of Canada and subject to Canadian laws.

The Small Vessel Register is part of the Canadian Register of Vessels, which is set aside for small domestic vessels involved in commercial activities. The Small Vessel Register provides for a similar registration process at a lower cost.

The Pleasure Craft Licensing system is designed for pleasure craft only. It provides basic identification for law enforcement, and search and rescue purposes.

Visit Transport Canada online at


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