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Home Made Boat Registration in Canada

On August 18, 2016, in Builder Tips, by Gayle Brantuk

By Graham (aka galamb on the Forum)

The following info on home made boat registration in Canada was taken from the Glen-L Forum

I got the survey done “first” – that helped out with any questions getting it registered and the insurance wouldn’t even talk to us without the survey as well.

You could go the hull permit/business route if you have “years” and a good lawyer to help you out, otherwise, it’s not all that daunting to register a homemade boat in Canada.

There are two options available to you – you either “register it and license it” or simply “license it” (see getting convoluted already). I decided to do both, so started with the registration part.

I started out by calling Transport Canada, because the website was convoluted. I told them I had built a 25′ 10″ “pleasure craft” (the pleasure craft part is uber-important, otherwise you need extra inspections etc.). They told me to get a copy of a “Canadian Boat Registration Form” (available online through their website) and they would help me fill it in over the phone. Because you don’t have a HIN (hull identification number) you have to call them anyhow.

It asks all the “typical” info for a “new” application – name, address, type of propulsion, length, hull material, colour, etc., but there is specifically a box for “home made”. I told them that I had a seaworthiness survey from the marine surveyor (gave them his name and license number. Once the registration was done they issued me a temporary registration (permit/license – whatever they called it) and then I applied for the Pleasure Craft License which gave me my “license number” to stick on the sides of the boat.

Having it “registered” first, took away a couple of steps when it came time to license it, but the new license procedure is not all that difficult. Here’s the link on how to do it—you have to go a good way down the page to find the “home made” section:

Both the registration AND license was NO CHARGE and the people I talked to at Transport Canada were more than helpful – so don’t hesitate to call them if you have questions.

Now, this is important–if you live in ONTARIO (and maybe other provinces, but Ontario for sure). The money grubbing Ontario Government gets notification of every “new” pleasure craft license issued to an Ontario resident and they want “proof” that sales tax was paid on the boat. Fine if you buy from a dealer, but they even come after private sales when the license holder changes. I knew this in advance so kept a number of receipts for the lumber, epoxy, hardware etc.–enough to show that I had paid sales tax on the “materials used to build” – and sure enough, after I got my permanent license number I get the letter in the mail asking for proof of sales tax payment. So I scan all my receipts, send it in and ask if that’s sufficient – didn’t hear any more from them so it must have been ok

Once I had my registration and license (again, can get away with just the license but figured if I want to sell the boat later, or let the license expire – they do expire every 10 years now – used to be lifetime – it would be easier to re-license/sell) and my survey, called the insurance company about a “skippers plan”. Even though my wife was retired from our insurance company they sounded “hesitant” to touch a “home made boat”, but once they had a copy of the survey, there was no issue. Just make sure the survey covers “seaworthiness” and not the typical short survey typically done upon a sale – mine had notes about the construction etc.

Actually the whole process was fairly smooth and painless.

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