A Complete Guide on How to Register a Boat in Alberta
Alberta has some of the most stunning lakes in Canada. The state boasts around 600 lakes and over 200 rivers, making it a breath-taking place not only to fish, boat but also relax. It would be a waste to visit the province and not enjoy the magnificent bodies of water. For people living in Alberta, boating is one of the most common leisure activities, which makes owning a boat a priority for many. However, boat owners must be fully compliant with the requirements of Transport Canada. While registering a boat is not an easy process, it is vital as it comes with valuable benefits. As such, if you already own or are planning to purchase a boat, you need to familiarise yourself with the process of boat registration in Alberta.
What should you consider before registering a boat?
Before registering a boat in Alberta, you need to define what you intend to use the water vessel for. Registration is mandatory for commercial vessels, barges, government-owned vessels, commercial river crafts, vessels travelling outside Canada and vessels that have a marine mortgage. While you do not have to register pleasure crafts, registration comes with various perks.
Boat registration process in Alberta
To register a boat in Alberta, the first step is ensuring that you fill all the information in the boat registry form correctly. You will be required to show proof of Canadian citizenship and boat ownership. This can be shown through a builder’s certificate that indicates that the boat was built for you or the bill of sale. It is important to go through the boat registration form and have all the required info. This prevents instances where you input the wrong information and have to repeat the process.
The boat registration form can be accessed from the Transport Canada website. Among the data you will fill in the registry form include type and method of propulsion used by the boat, number of engines, type of tonnage, type of construction, name of the builder and the intended use, among others. As you can see, this is detailed information which you may even need to consult the manufacturer. This is why it’s advisable to go through the form first and ensure you have all the data needed.
Not everyone can own a boat in Alberta. Canadian citizens, Canadian corporations, permanent residents in Canada, foreign corporations and federal & provincial Canadian governments can own a vessel. However, partnerships, foreign citizens and trusts cannot own a boat in Canada.
Also, owning and registering commercial vessels is more complex compared to pleasure crafts. Water vessels are classified in the commercial category if passengers pay to be on board, the boat is used to provide a service, the vessel is operated by the federal or provincial government or people are on board as part of their job. However, pleasure crafts are used for recreation, fun and daily living activities such as fishing.
What are the benefits of registering a boat in Alberta?
- You get to be named as the legal owner of the boat- You never know when doubts of ownership may arise. And this proof of ownership will come in handy in such situations. Also, you may be required to show proof of boat ownership at international borders.
- You get to obtain a unique name for your boat- This has to be submitted to the registry for approval. For commercial boats, three names should be submitted to the registry. The registry will then approve one name. Naming a boat does not only help identify the boat but is also vital in case of emergencies as emergency personnel use the name of the boat (which must be displayed on both sides) to identify you. While many boat owners may be tempted to have a complex or long name, it is important to choose a concise name. This makes communication between rescue and search persons easier.
- You get the right to fly the Canadian flag over your boat
- Transport Canada will give you vital safety information on the water bodies
- You can obtain a ship mortgage for your boat- This will help you especially if you want to purchase a bigger vessel that you cannot afford without extra financing.
- Registering a boat contributes to statistics that help Transport Canada understand security risks on Canadian waters
You should register your boat in the Canadian Register of Vessels if:
- The vessel is a barge with a 15 gross tonnage or more
- You need a reserved name for your vessel
- You intend to use the vessel outside Canada
- It is a government-owned vessel with a 15 gross tonnage and powered by 7.5 KW motors or more
- You will need a marine mortgage
You can register your boat in the Small Vessel Register if:
- It is a commercial river raft
- It is a badge with a 15 gross tonnage or less
- Is a government-owned vessel powered by a 7.5 KW motor and has a gross tonnage of 15 or less
- Is a commercial vessel with a gross tonnage of 15 tonnage or less and powered by 7.5 kW motors or more
Now that we have discussed the boat registration process in Alberta, here are some extra tips to consider before buying a boat.
- Your budget- While the initial cost of the boat is the first consideration among most buyers, do not forget to factor in maintenance, moorage, cleaning, winter storage, gasoline, dry docking and boat insurance. Sticking to your budget is vital. However, watch out for cheap boat options that may end up being more expensive in the future.
- Size- The size of the boat to purchase will depend on various factors such as who will operate the boat, how many passengers you intend to carry and also your budget. The size of a commercial boat cannot be similar to that of a leisure boat.
- Motor or Sail- This is purely based on personal preference and functionality. If you want gentle cruising or even quiet fishing, a sailboat will be a perfect choice. However, if you want fun water activities such as water-skis on the back of the boat, then opt for a motorboat.
- Storage- This is also one of the biggest considerations you have to make when purchasing a boat. Whether you want to put your boat on a trailer or docked on the port, ensure you go through storage options with your manufacturer.
Buying a boat in Alberta is a wise decision. You get to enjoy the water bodies but also get a money-making avenue if you have a commercial boat. However, you have to ensure that the boat is duly registered to avoid the hefty fines and being on the wrong side with the authorities.