Beautiful Alberta lies in the middle of the prairies, where some of the country’s most truly stunning lakes and naturescapes call home. In Alberta, you’ll find 600 lakes and over 200 rivers, making the province a breathtaking place to boat, fish and relax. From the picturesque Lake Louise to the glacier-fed Lake Minnewanka, any trip to Alberta is incomplete without a remarkably gorgeous day out on the water.

Boating and fishing for pleasure is simply one of the greatest things about living in and visiting Alberta. However, you’ll need to ensure that your pleasure craft is properly licenced and titled, whether you’re taking out a canoe to fish or a powerboat to visit your cottage. The laws and regulations for pleasure crafts in Alberta require boats to be licenced with a Pleasure Craft Licence, and our guide to boat licencing in Alberta will have you enjoying the water legally in no time.

How Do I Know If My Boat Needs to Be Registered?

When you own and operate a boat in any Canadian province, you’ll likely need to licence it. Most boats that you’ll find yourself operating are considered pleasure crafts in Canada, which means that they’re used for simply that—pleasure! If you’re spending your time going back and forth to the cottage, sightseeing or leisurely fishing, you’re probably operating a pleasure craft. If your pleasure craft has a motor of 7.5 kW (10 horsepower) or more, you’ll need to license it.

In Canada, boat registration is most likely not something you’ll need to deal with. Registration is required for commercial vessels, government-owned vessels, barges, commercial river rafts, vessels with a marine mortgage and vessels traveling outside of Canada, while pleasure crafts are just required to be licenced.

What Boats Are Exempt?

Almost all pleasure crafts in Alberta are required to be properly licenced with a Pleasure Craft Licence, though there are some exceptions to the licencing requirement:

  • Pleasure crafts using a motor of less than 10 horsepower (7.5 kW)
  • A pleasure craft already registered with Transport Canada
  • Pleasure crafts purchased less than 90 days before (this is a 90-day grace period, and pleasure craft boaters are required to carry documentation with their name, address, and purchase date)

How Do I Licence My Pleasure Craft in Alberta?

To apply for a Pleasure Craft Licence in Alberta, you can apply online or complete a mail-in application. The application can be printed and mailed alongside all required documents or can be completed electronically, and the following documents are required when you register a new pleasure craft:

  • The completed application
  • Signed photocopy of the valid government-issued identification for each owner
  • A copy of bill of sale or proof of ownership (home-built boats without a bill of sale may submit a declaration under oath)
  • A current, full side view photo of the pleasure craft

How Much Does it Cost To Licence a Pleasure Craft in Alberta?

There is no charge for the issuance of Pleasure Craft License in Alberta. However, any pleasure craft caught operating without a licence will be charged a fee of $250.

How Do I Transfer Ownership To My New Pleasure Craft?

To transfer ownership to your new pleasure craft, complete the application for a Pleasure Craft Licence and write “transfer ownership” in the field marked for application reason. The following documents are required to transfer ownership to a pleasure craft:

  • The completed application
  • Signed photocopy of the valid government-issued identification for each owner
  • A copy of bill of sale or proof of ownership
  • A current, full side view photo of the pleasure craft

What Else Do I Need to Know About Pleasure Craft Licences in Alberta?

Your Alberta pleasure craft must display the licence number at all times on both sides of the boat’s bow in a contrasting color and at a size of at least 7.5 centimetres (or 3 inches) high. The Pleasure Craft Licence itself must always be carried on the boat. 

In Canada, any Pleasure Craft Licence issued after 2010 is valid for 10 years, though the licence must be updated with any name or address changes.Since all Alberta pleasure craft operators (and boaters) are required to carry boating licences—otherwise known as Pleasure Operator Cards—you’ll want to find a fun, info-packed course that will teach you everything you need to know when it comes to boating safely in Alberta. With BOATsmart!, you’ll become the safe, trusted and licenced Alberta boater you want to be with curriculum designed to engage and educate.