The sound of water gently lapping against the hull of your boat is as relaxing as you can get. In Ontario we are blessed with many lakes and rivers from the St. Lawrence to Lake Superior to everything in between. Now more than ever it’s important that you know the laws and rules of Ontario’s waterways. Your boating safety should be your top priority for a happy summer of lake fun. And it’s important to make sure you have the correct coverage to protect you, and your loved ones and your watercraft in the event of a claim.
Here are 5 things to consider to keep you, your family and friends safe this boating season.
One: Pleasure Craft Licensing.
Make sure your boat or watercraft is properly licenced. Any vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more must have a pleasure craft licence. Having a proper licence is important because it is used by law enforcement and search and rescue organizations in emergency situations. For a lot of great information check out Transport Canada’s Questions and Answers page about pleasure craft licences.
Two: National Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Program.
In Ontario these regulations require all operators of a pleasure craft fitted with any type of motor and used for recreational purposes to carry proof of competency on board. A Pleasure Craft Operator Card is the most common proof of competency for this program. These cards can be obtained after passing an accredited boating safety test.
Three: The Right Equipment for the Right Boat.
Make sure you have the right equipment for the watercraft you have. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what equipment you should have, but with a little time and research you can prepare yourself. Check out Transport Canada Guidelines for boat equipment. You can also purchase Boat Safety Kits at Canadian Tire and many other outdoor sporting goods stores.
As well Transport Canada has a terrific Safe Boating Guide that details what you should do from inspecting and monitoring the weather to what you need to do on the water or in case on an emergency. Being properly prepared could be the difference between life and death. You can download the PDF guide here.
Four: Boating and Alcohol/Drugs.
Simply put boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs do not mix. Boaters caught boating while impaired in Ontario face the same consequences as those for drinking and driving. These can be a 2, 7 or 30 day driver’s licence suspensions, ignition interlock or even criminal charges. When you drink or do drugs and boat you are gambling not only with the lives of you and your family, but other boaters and swimmers lives as well. Know the laws and follow them!
Five: Boat Insurance Protection You Can Rely On.
Having fun on Ontario s waterways is a great way to spend the summer and make memories with friends and family. No one wants to think about what accidents can happen. That is why you need the right protection for your boat and for how you use it. Do you use your boat for fishing (click here for Ontario Fishing Licence information), watersports or just touring/mooring? Have cooking facilities, a toilet and/or sleeping quarters? Do you keep your boat in a marina on the Great Lakes or do you travel down the St. Lawrence? Do you have a large inboard engine or a small outboard? Do you have a sailboat or a powerboat? Have or tow a Dinghy or a Seadoo?
At Lackner McLennan Insurance and Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers we take the time to understand not only what kind of boat you have, but also how, where and how long you will use it. Providing the correct information means you will have the proper insurance coverage should something unexpected happen.
We can also provide higher liability limits to protect your family in case the worst happens. For a free no obligation quote for your boat please visit our Watercraft Page.
Have questions or comments, please let us know below.