Boat Insurance - Ottawa, Ontario

8 Things to Know About Boat Insurance in Ontario

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Insurance Advice

If you’re among those who are lucky enough to own your own boat, you know that it’s a rewarding, yet often pricey investment. And for whatever reason, the idea of running into trouble with your boat seems far-fetched in our minds. But the unfortunate fact of life is that mistakes do happen and accidents occur.
Really, we should think about owning and protecting a boat the same way as we do a car. That’s why it’s crucial to cover your boat with an insurance policy. Here are some important things to know about boating insurance in Ontario:

  • Often, watercraft like canoes, kayaks or paddleboats – essentially any small craft without a motor – can potentially be rolled into your home or seasonal home insurance. Speak to your broker about your liability limits.

  • For larger boats with bigger motors, and personal watercraft vehicles (PWC), i.e. Jet-Ski™ or Seadoo™, insurance is highly recommended. Most policies can cover the boat itself, as well as additional equipment, like the motor, trailers, and onboard equipment like GPS systems. Though boat insurance is not required by law in Canada, not only will having insurance give you peace of mind, it can protect you in case of the following:
    • Liability coverage for injury to passengers on board, tubers or skiers being towed or others in the water or aboard other watercraft
    • Damage to the boat, theft or loss of attached equipment;
    • Damage caused by your boat/watercraft on someone else’s property.


  • A wide range of factors will affect your boating insurance policy. These can include things like the size of the boat; its value; the lake or location that you use it on; the size of the motor, and more. Make sure that your policy fits the needs of your particular boat.

  • With many policies, there are restrictions on how far from your home dock or lake area you can venture and still be covered. So that’s something to keep in mind if you’re planning any long-range trips with your vessel. Your policy may also only cover the boat within a specified radius for land travel, which is important to be aware of if you are hauling your boat a long distance on a trailer.

  • Remember that you need a Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) to legally operate a motorboat in Canada. Anyone driving a boat without one not only risks a $250 fine, but may also VOID any insurance policy in place.

  • Whether claims on the boat are settled on agreed-upon value or actual cash value is likely to depend on the individual insurer and the age of the boat. Some insurers will only settle claims on an agreed-upon value for newer boats, rather than actual cash value.

  • Confirm with your broker whether younger operators of the boat will be covered by your policy. Here are the legal age restrictions for operating a boat in Canada:

    AgePower Restrictions
    Under 12 years of age, and not directly supervisedCan operate vessels with under 10 hp
    Between 12 years and under 16 years of age, and not directly supervisedCan operate vessels with under 40 hp
    Under 16 years of ageNot allowed to operate a PWC
    16 years of age and overNo power restrictions


  • Where are you storing your boat over the winter? Snow load is a big problem for boats in Canada, so speak to your broker about damages that may occur during the off-season and whether they will be covered by your policy.


Boat insurance is one of the most important investments you can make to protect your assets and ensure that you have a worry-free summer of fun on the water. Speak to your local Oegema, Nicholson & Associates insurance broker to discuss your options, or get an online boat insurance quote today.

Thanks for reading,
The ONA Team

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