Boating - a summer pastime like no other!

Posted On Wednesday August 19, 2020

(Updated August 2020)




Having a boat is a great way to explore the waterways in this beautiful province. Ontario is home to 250,000 lakes and with over ten million people taking to the waterways each year, boating is a recreational activity that provides many positive benefits.

As with any activity, knowing the rules will ensure a safe experience. Here are some safety tips to consider before hopping into that boat:

Know the local weather forecast. It is a good practice to check the weather before departure, and if you see the weather changing while out on the water, be safe and head for shore.

Complete a pre-departure checklist. A checklist is a good way to make sure you are following all the boating safety rules. See Discover Boating pre-departure checklist attached below.

Take the test and get your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). A PCOC is mandatory in Canada “for anyone operating a pleasure craft with any type of motor.” Transport Canada provides a current list of approved course providers.

Know the rules. Some safe boating practices include being alert, operating at a safe speed, and being respectful of buoys.

Have a backup operator. Ensure more than one person knows the rules, how to handle the boat and get it back to shore safely.

Tell a family member or local marina. Before heading out, make sure someone on shore knows your plans for the day – where you are heading, what time to expect you back, your contact details, who will be with you.

A lifejacket for every person on board. Assign a lifejacket that fits for each person on the boat.

Alcohol free boating. If you plan to have alcohol on board, keep in mind, in most provinces your boat must be anchored and have permanent sleeping, kitchen and toilet facilities on board. Check with the appropriate provincial authority for full details.

Know how to swim. If you are going to be in or around water knowing how to swim just makes sense! There are many options available from the Canadian Red Cross to private lessons.

Take a boating course. As with any activity, taking lessons will help you to become more familiar with safely operating a boat with confidence.

Source: These tips have been adapted from “Boating Safety Tips: Boater Education & Resources for Safe Family Fun” courtesy of Discover Boating

Insuring your boat

The information that an insurance company requires about a boat and its operators is similar to the type of information it needs to provide auto insurance. It includes:

  • The boat’s length, type and value
  • Its condition and market value – your insurer may ask for a survey if your boat is more than 15 years old
  • How frequently the boat is used, what it’s used for, and how and where it is stored
  • The waters you typically navigate and if you ever charter your boat
  • The experience, loss and claims history of the owner and/or operators
  • If the operators are members of the Sail Canada or Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada

Middlesex Mutual Insurance has a leisure boating program that offers the coverage you need to protect your watercraft, when used for private recreational purposes.

We have agents that also own recreational boats and would love the chance to talk to you about a hobby in which you both take pleasure.

Give them a call today and find the boating insurance that is right for you.