HRC Insurance Blog

Boat Safety Tips

With the temperatures quickly rising and summer fast approaching many of us are looking forward to getting out and spending time by the water. May 21st-27th is National Safe Boating Week and here at Hutcheson Reynolds and Caswell we want to insure you have the safest experience on the water.  Whether you own and boat or are at a friend’s cottage it is very import to know the rules and regulations of the water to insure a safe and enjoyable time. These rules and regulations apply to not only the operator of the vessel but also the passengers aboard. 

Here are some summer boating safety tips for everyone to follow this summer:

Check Your Vessel

After a long winter of rest for your vessel it is important to insure that your vessel is in proper working order. That includes doing an overall inspection of the mechanics and safety of the vessel. Check your engine, motor, gas tanks, steering, the body of the boat, and the electrical. If you are unsure of the proper mechanics, make an appointment at your local marina.

Equipping Your Vessel

Aboard your vessel it is important to be equipped with the proper safety materials. These materials must be kept in good condition and up to date.  If you fail to do so there can be fines for the absence of each. In Canada, the safety equipment required depends on the type and length of your boat. Equipment requirements are the same whether you own, rent or borrow a boat. This includes typical boats including power boats, sail boats and personal watercrafts.

At a bare minimum, you should always have with you:

  • Canadian-approved flotation device or lifejacket of appropriate size for each passenger on board

  • Buoyant heaving line at least 15 metres in length

  • Watertight flashlight OR Canadian approved flares – Type A,B or C

  • Sound-signalling device

  • Manual propelling device (i.e. paddle) OR an anchor with at least 15 metres of rope, chain or cable

  • Bailer OR manual water pump

  • Class 5 BC fire extinguisher

  • First-aid kit

PFD/Life Jackets

Many rules and regulations are set that state which safety features must be aboard the vessel at all times however one that is implies to all vessels is that each member aboard the vessel must have a proper fitting PFD or life jacket. The PFD or life jacket must be approved by Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  It is highly recommended that everyone wears their device at all times while aboard the vessel. Life jackets that are in poor condition or that have rips are not considered approved. A life jacket only works if you’re wearing it.

Stay Sober

Alcohol is a factor in over 40% of recreational boating fatalities. Alcohol diminishes judgment and the ability to process information as well as reduces motor skills, vision and balance. The safest thing to do is wait until you are off the water before consuming in alcoholic beverages. If you do bring alcoholic beverages aboard your vessel, choose a designated vessel operator for the day and have non-alcoholic beverages available for them.

A Few Extra Things to Remember Before Heading Out On the Water

  • Make sure you have your Pleasure Craft Operators Card with you

  • Check the weather

  • Have a full tank of gas

  • If you are planning a day trip insure you have sunscreen, water and extra snacks.

  • Have a line of communication available in case of emergencies.


For a list of all equipment needed on your vessel and more information about life jackets and PFD’s check out these websites:

If you are interested in obtaining your Pleasure Craft Operator Card follow these links below for more information:

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.