HRC Insurance Blog

Information for Boating in Ontario

Just some handy facts and reminders about Boating in Ontario!

              With Boating season alive and well, here are some helpful reminders about some of the rules and regulations required of boating in Ontario.


Licencing (PCOC, Pleasure Craft Operators Card)

  • Proof that you have attended a recognized boating course and that you are aware of the laws and basics of boating

  • A license from anywhere within the Canadian region or an equivalent like a US boating license

  • Lost licence 1 866 688 2628

  • Everyone who operates a boat regardless of length or horse power is required to obtain a boating licence or you could face a $250 fine


BOAT Smart – certified boating course also known as proof of competency

  • This course covers a full range of basic boating knowledge such as, the minimum safety equipment required on board, what Canadian buoys look like and what they mean, how to correctly share the water way, a review of the rules and regulations that apply to pleasure boating, and how to respond to an emergency


Age and horsepower restrictions

  • Under 12 years of age with no supervision the maximum power that is allowed is 10 horsepower

  • 12 to 16 years of age with no supervision the maximum power that is allowed is 40 horsepower

  • 16 years of age or older there is no maximum power that is allowed


Mandatory Safety Equipment

  • Approved PFD of proper size for each passenger on board

  • Watertight flashlight

  • Sound signaling device

  • A manual propelling device (paddle) or an anchor with at least 15 meters of rope

  • Buoyant heaving line at least 15 meters in length

  • Bailer or manual water pump

  • Class 5 BC fire extinguisher

  • Keep all emergency equipment within arm’s reach, emergencies happen fast


Types of life jackets

  • SOLAS (Safety of life at Sea) Lifejackets, are the best performing of the 3 types of registered life jackets they will flip you onto you back in a matter of seconds even if you are unconscious, they are available in 2 sizes, over 32kg and under 32 kg, and are of a key hole design

  • Standard type lifejackets, don’t perform quite as well as SOLAS life jackets, however they still roll you on to your back so that you don’t drown if unconscious, they also come in two sizes, over 40kg under 40 kg, and are of a keyhole design

  • Small Vessel lifejackets, are the slowest performing of the 3 main types, they come in 3 sizes, over 41 kg, 41 to 18 kg, and under 18kg, and come in both key hole and vest designs.

  • All life jackets must have a label approved by Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans Canada or any combination of the 3.


Recommended Safety Equipment

  • Marine first aid kit

  • Drinking water

  • Sun screen

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Dry Clothing (long sleeve shirt)

  • Snacks

  • Waterproof matches

  • Knife


Alcohol on Board

  • 37% of boaters in Canada admit to using alcohol every time they boat

  • 66% report that they drink alcohol sometimes when boating

  • Alcohol is a factor in over 40% of recreational boating fatalities

  • 341 ml (12 OZ) beer = 142 ml (5 OZ) wine = 1.5 OZ spirits

  • You can carry unopened beer cases, wine and liquor bottles – crossing the lake to the island or wherever your destination is

  • You can also carry partial beer cases, or opened bottles, provided they are closed, and out of reach

  • Remember the saying “Water on the water beer on the pier”


Common Sense tips while boating

  • Be weather conscious, check reports before heading out and be mindful of your surroundings

  • Create a pre departure checklist and go through it before heading out on the water

  • Use common sense on the water

  • Designate an assistant skipper who knows the ins and outs of the boat in case something happens to the skipper

  • Develop a float plan : where, who, how long

  • Make proper use of life jackets (size applicable and in good working condition)

  • Again never mix alcohol and boating

  • Learn to Swim! Just in case.

  • Sea Doos and other PWC’s are jet propulsion driven, if there is no power there is no steering due to the fact that the stream of water controls and drives the boat.

  • Always check the load plate for proper horsepower recommendations, load recommendations and a baseline on how many people can safely be in the boat at any time.


Extra References for boating information


Stay Safe and have fun!

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Since the 1900's...

Born under the name George Hutcheson, Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Ltd. began providing insurance policies in Muskoka since the early 1900s. Bernard Reynolds joined the firm in the 1940s and purchased the firm from George Hutcheson in 1967. Finally, in 1980, David Caswell joined the company's ranks to complete Hutcheson, Reynolds and Caswell. We have grown along with our name and provide the same dedication to superior customer service and top-notch insurance coverage that George Hutcheson was famous for over 100 years ago.