With the arrival of warmer weather, many Canadians look forward to getting out on the water. Unfortunately, this year, recreational boaters and the businesses that serve them, are continuing to feel the impact of COVID-19.

The Government of Ontario has announced that marinas, boat clubs, and public boat launches were cleared to re-open for recreational use starting Saturday, May 16, 2020. While this is welcome news for many of our clients and an exciting development for boating enthusiasts across the province, we’re offering some helpful reminders to ensure a safe and healthy boating season for you and your families.

Carry your Pleasure Craft Operator Card

All motorized boat operators in Canada, regardless of age, are required by law to have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). There are many online and in-class course options offered throughout the country to obtain a PCOC if you do not have one. Ensure that anyone who is planning on driving your boat has a card before leaving shore.

Make sure you’re covered

While small boats, such as canoes or other un-motorized boats, are typically covered under your homeowner’s insurance, a larger, motorized boat needs boat insurance. A typical policy protects your boat, motor, equipment, and passengers in the event of an accident.

If you’re using your watercraft for purposes that are incidental to your profession, instead of just recreationally, you need to have sufficient liability coverage. As of January 2019, Canadian maritime law requires $250,000 of coverage per person, up to your watercraft’s maximum capacity.

What is considered ‘Incidental Use’?

Incidental Use is the occasional use of your watercraft for entertaining clients, or prospective clients, for your profession or business, or in connection with any volunteer or charitable work. If you think you need incidental use coverage for your boat, talk to your broker about what options are available to you.

COVID-19 special considerations for boaters

In support of your safety, we suggest continuing to follow Public Health guidelines when boating. Here are a few tips to help maintain social distancing:

  • Only boat with those in your immediate household–no guests
  • Prearrange fuelling and maintain adequate space between yourself and employees at fuel and service docks
  • Keep your distance on the water–no rafting
  • Don’t beach your boat right next to another boat
  • Respect closures–playgrounds, recreation areas, picnic areas, swimming pools, hot tubs, and laundry facilities at marinas remain closed for the time being and should not be used

For more information, Boating Ontario has put together a detailed guide.

Cowan is proud to be one of the most recognized marine pleasure craft insurance providers in Canada. Please contact us today to learn more and to get a quote from one of our marine specialists.