Chapter 1: Laws & Boating Terms Standard Decals & Licensing

Standards Decals & Capacity Plates

The Small Vessel Regulations stipulate that a Standards Decal and Capacity Plate, or a Combined Capacity / Construction Plate, must be located in boats under six metres with an engine of 10 hp (7.5kW) or more.

The recommended gross load capacity that can be safely carried in the hull;

  • includes the total weight of persons, equipment, stores, fuel, motor assembly and steering controls;
  • is indicated with the equivalent number of adult persons, and
  • is indicated on a Capacity Plate which, if fitted, is permanently attached to the pleasure craft.
Maximum Capacity

The recommended safe limit of engine horsepower, or kilowatts, based on the recommended gross load capacity, is also listed on the plate.

Each boat is different. Follow the guidelines on the capacity plate of the small vessel.

Capacity plates are now also required for home built boats.

Beyond the capacity plate information, skippers must be aware of the limitations and handling characteristics of their vessels.

Licensing & Registration

All boats under 15 register tons powered by 10 hp (7.5 kw) or more must be licensed. This includes all Personal Watercraft which are classified as boats. The owner of the vessel shall license their craft.

Other vessels may be licensed if the owner wishes.

The license number must be displayed in block characters, 75 mm (7.5 cm) tall or greater, in a colour contrasting to the hull.

The owner must place the license number on both the port and starboard side of the bow.

Script, italic and other lettering styles are not permissible for the license number.

The license must be carried in a watertight envelope on board the boat.

Acquiring a license is as simple as applying at the nearest Customs Canada office. Fill in a form with basic information about the boat and the license is issued immediately.

Vessels greater than 15 registered tons must be registered, which involves a much more complicated and costly process.

Any other vessel may be registered, if the owner wishes.