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Boating in Canada

Discussion in 'Detroit River and Lake Erie' started by FrankT75, May 19, 2011.

  1. FrankT75


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    Monroe, MI
    There was a post on Michigan Sportsman awhile ago that talked about some new boat licensing requirement in Canada. In order to get the official answer on this I sent an e-mail to the Canadian Boating authority stating the following:
    I live in Michigan and have my boat registered in Michigan. The boat has the registration number displayed on both sides of the bow. Do I need to get a Candian boaters license before I operate my boat in Canada?

    I got the following answer:
    In response to your enquiry regarding requirements for foreign recreational boaters operating in Canadian waters:

    Proof of Competency and Pleasure Craft Licensing:

    If you are a foreign boater (non-Canadian) and will be operating in Canada for 44 consecutive days or less, all you need to do is meet your home state or country’s requirements. If you operate for longer, you will need Canadian proof of competency ( If your state does not require proof of competency, then you are not obliged to carry proof of competency or take a boating safety course. If your state does require it, then you need only carry the proof of competency of your home country.

    If you are simply visiting Canada with your pleasure craft, you only need to carry any licensing or registration required in your home state or country. However, if your pleasure craft is principally kept and maintained in Canada, you will need to apply for a pleasure craft licence or vessel registration.

    However, please make sure you carry proof of residency and a valid piece of identification with you on board at all times.

    Please note that if at anytime you do operate in Canada for more than 45 consecutive days, you will be required to carry Canadian proof of competency even if your home state or country does not require it. However, it does not need to be the Canadian proof of competency; a proof of competency from your home state or country is also valid. A completed boat rental safety check-list for power-driven rental boats is valid as well.

    The requirement to carry proof of operator competency only applies to operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor. If there is no motor on your boat, no proof of competency is required.

    Safety Equipment Requirements (for foreign boaters):
    Foreign pleasure craft (pleasure craft that are licensed or registered in a country other than Canada) need to comply with equipment requirements of the country in which the vessel is usually kept.
    If you are not a resident of Canada and are using a pleasure craft licensed or registered in Canada, all of the required safety equipment must meet Canadian safety requirements. However, you may opt to bring your own PFD for your own personal use.
    The Canadian Safety Equipment Requirements may be found here:

    Entering Canada by boat (customs):

    Visitors entering Canada by boat should visit the Canada Border Services Agency for more information on Customs procedures.

    If you will be entering Canada from the United States using a private pleasure craft, you may be interested in the CANPASS program.

    I encourage you to visit our Visitor’s Web Page for more information:

    Licence vs registration:

    All pleasure craft fitted with one or more motors adding up to a total of 10hp (7.5 kW) or more are required to be licensed, unless they are registered. Only one or the other is required. If there's no motor, then neither licensing nor registration is required.

    You are required to carry a copy of your licence/registration on board.

    There is a difference between a vessel registration and a pleasure craft licence. Vessel registration offers proof of ownership, and allows you to name your ship. If you plan on taking your vessel outside Canada, Transport Canada recommends you have it registered. A fee is involved in registration.
    If the craft is already registered, you can find the vessel’s information online at this site:

    A pleasure craft licence is the set of identification numbers at the front of your boat. Your name must be recorded as the owner of the licensed craft. The licence is essential for search and rescue emergency situations. There is no fee associated with licensing.
    If your boat is registered, licensing is unnecessary. Only one of the two is required by law.

    If you wish to license your craft, please see our web site for licence procedures:
    If you wish to register your craft, you should refer to the Vessel Registration Office website and contact information. The link for registration may be found here:

    Best regards,
    Chani Dumont
    Boating Safety Promotion Officer/Agent de promotion de la sécurité nautique
    Office of Boating Safety/Bureau de la sécurité nautique
    Tel. (613) 990-4899 / Fax. (613) 991-4818

    Transport Canada
    Office of Boating Safety/Bureau de la sécurité nautique
    Marine Safety/Sécurité maritime (AMSRO)
    Place de Ville Tower C
    330 Sparks Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0N8
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2015

    WALLEYE MIKE Staff Member Mods

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    Bear in mind this is for those who are in Canada for more than 45 days consecutively. Will not affect 99% of us

  3. FrankT75


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    Monroe, MI
    I followed this up with the following e-mail:
    "Thank you for the response.

    I may be missing something but I don't think this answers one of my questions, namely:

    If I am fishing with a Canadian resident in my boat and they are steering the boat while we are trolling, do they need to have any kind of license or certification?"

    His answer is:
    "Yes, Proof of Competency applies to the individual driving the boat."

    So if you fish with someone from Canada and they take the wheel, they are required to have Proof of Competency.
  4. Tom (mich)

    Tom (mich)

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    Note to self: never allow a Canadian to drive my boat.
  5. roger23


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    They probably would not site the Canadian, instead ticket the American for letting a non licensed person drive the boat..double standard that sometimes happens ,most like Americans but some resent us,,
  6. ahartz


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    Grosse Pointe/Lake St. Clair
    I was about to post the same thing......
  7. King Crawler

    King Crawler

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    Ann Arbor
  8. daakota

    daakota Premium Member

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    Like some of our elected officials