Marine Capsule

5. Citizenship: Seller and buyer



At time of registration, the buyer’s citizenship status will indirectly be part of his statements. The signature will have to be sworn in or notarized.

If it turns out that the statement has not been filled correctly, the consequences could be quite important for the owner because his registration would be irregular.

If a maritime mortgage was registered against the vessel, it could be at risk. This security exist only when the registration is compliant.


The owner must be Canadian citizen or permanent resident as defined in the Canadian Immigration Act. The provided information will also be used to establish the division of the shares and the Right of Survivorship, in the the case that there are several owners. For more details, see the Marine Capsule no. 4, Ownership of a registered vessel.

Sometimes the Canadian Authorities request a copy of the Canadian passport, birth certificate or any official document confirming the status of the applicant.


It must be a company incorporated under the laws of Canada or under law of its provinces. A registered commercial name not belonging to a corporation may not get the registry. The registration process requires the followings:

  • Evidence that the legal person exists and qualifies
  • Resolution authorizing the signatory to sign for the company. His/her signature must be sworn in or notarized.


If the vessel was already registered at the time of the sale and the seller provided erroneous information when he registered his boat, he will have to regulate the registration before the sale.


Foreign Buyer

If the vessel is registered under the Canadian law, the sale will be indicated in the official record of the vessel. Following, the registration record will be closed and a Deletion Certificate issued.

The Deletion Certificate will allow the foreign buyer to register the vessel according to his country’s laws.

Foreign Seller

If the vessel is registered in another country, the registration of the other country must be closed and a proof of closing issued at that time. Without this evidence, the Canadian buyer will not be able to register the vessel in Canada.

One or several bills of sale (e.g.: France requires four) shall be submitted to the country authorities of the seller in order to close the registration. Some countries require that the signature of the seller be sworn in or notarized. Others, having a “Customary law”, do not require it.

A Canadian in a foreign registry system

Sometimes a Canadian requests that the vessel registration of a foreign seller be transferred to him. This is not always the right decision; some countries refuse to acknowledge.


  • The USA vessel registry (Documentation) system can contain only US citizens, individuals or corporations
  • The “Titles” and other registration types may, in many cases, be transferred to the buyer but sales taxes are payable. A vessel registered in Canada may be exempt from sales taxes
  • A registration in the State of Delaware, USA, for a boat owned by a Canadian evokes questioning and suspicion. People wonder about the true buyer’s goal ?
  • The taxes paid to foreign countries are not credited when the boat is imported in Canada


It is easier for a Canadian to travel if he has his Canadian passport and the Canadian Certificate of Registry of his vessel.

The French "Ponce law"

This law exists in France and in its overseas territories. It allows tax exemptions in favor of the French buyers, provided that the vessel is bought new, is a French construction and is sold at the end of a 5 years period. The selling prices of these vessels, sold on a secondary market, are often interesting.

Many of these vessels are managed by fleets such as Mooring or Sunsail Worldwide. We find them all over the world: Caribbean Islands, Mediterranean sea, Adriatic sea, etc.

This writing is a short summary of some of the topics to consider in relation with a vessel purchase, sale or credit.

Each transaction is a special case.

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