If the boat is equipped with a motor or designed to carry one then it must have a Compliance Notice. Attaching this to the boat is also the responsibility of manufacturers and importers and they indicate that the boat met the Transport Canada Construction Standards for Small Vessels at the time it was built. Only compliance notices issued according to these standards are valid in Canada. Changes to the boat over time may invalidate the compliance notice and once you own the boat you are responsible to make sure it is up to standard. If boats do not carry either the HIN or Transport Canada Compliance Notice, request that the seller get them before you finalize the purchase. Compliance notices on boats up to 6m (19’8”) will also contain recommendations for safe capacity limits in good weather. They will indicate the maximum safe outboard motor size and how much weight the boat can hold including the number of people on board and what they are carrying. Proper distribution of weight will depend on the individual boat. Know your boat and respect its limits.
If you are buying a used boat then ensure that it meets the construction standards. A dealer or broker can provide you with this information and, if it as a private sale, then hiring a certified Marine Surveyor will help. He or she can examine the boat and give you a reasonable opinion of the boats current condition and any work that will be required to bring it up to the required standards.
If you are buying a boat from another country then you must make sure it meets Canada’s construction standards. These standards vary from country to country. If it does not meet Canada’s standards then you must be sure you can modify the boat to meet them before you use the boat in Canada.
When crossing the border with the boat, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will ask for some required documentation and ask certain questions about the boat and the seller. They will then assess the duties and taxes on the boat. For more information before buying go to the CBSA web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca to find out what documentation you will require from the seller.
If you are bringing the boat into Canada by trailer remember that the trailer, as a motor vehicle, will have to meet certain requirements that will be different from the boat. The CBSA will help you to learn more. If you are buying the trailer then you will need to contact your provincial or territorial office of transportation to learn about any requirement that may apply. Go to www.tc.gc.ca for a list of offices across Canada.
There may also be export requirements in the country where you plan to purchase the boat and/or trailer. You will need to contact the authorities in the country where you are planning to purchase the boat or trailer well in advance.