Do You Need Insurance for a Seadoo in Ontario?

Do You Need Insurance for a Seadoo in Ontario

Do You Need Insurance for a Seadoo in Ontario?

Is the thought of taking to the water, skimming waves, and feeling the wind’s relief amidst the summer heat something that excites you? This is how many personal watercraft owners feel, and rightly so. That said, when considering purchasing a personal watercraft like this, do Seadoos need insurance, or is it simply a nice-to-have? 

Today, let’s explore if you need insurance for Seadoos, Kawasaki or Yamaha jet skis in more detail. We’ll highlight the importance and general best practices, as well as issues that could arise that justify having an active policy.

Seadoo Insurance Fundamentals

To start, let’s answer some commonly asked questions about insurance for Seadoos, Kawasaki or Yamaha jet ski:

Is Seadoo Insurance Required in Ontario?

For Seadoos, Kawasaki and Yamaha watercrafts registered in the province of Ontario, boating insurance is not required by law. However, if you choose not to have an active insurance policy for your vessel, you leave yourself vulnerable to considerable financial stress if an accident, breakdown, or other related mishap occurs. This is especially risky if you cause an accident with another boater and don’t have liability coverage, which would result in you being entirely responsible for damages out of your own pocket.

What Should a Seadoo Insurance Plan Cover?

Depending on the insurance provider you choose, you may be able to select either a fully customizable package – an option that provides added value that ensures you have the policy elements that you need – or one of several pre-set alternatives. Regardless of your choice, there are three components that you should ensure are included. These include the following:

Theft and Agreed Value

Theft and agreed value protection, covers you in the event of theft of the vessel or even personal items stored onboard. The agreed value element, as the term implies, ensures that the value of your Seadoos, Kawasaki and Yamaha will not depreciate. We at Portside Marine Insurance offer agreed value coverage for 15 years.

Ingestion and Damage

Seadoos, Kawasaki and Yamaha watercrafts require regular maintenance to remain efficient and handled correctly. However, due to their general design that relies on water pressure to move, there’s a risk of ingesting debris that could clog the jet propulsion system. Ingestion and damage coverage can take care of expenses related to repairs. This coverage also provides reimbursement for damages sustained in an accident, and we ensure that you don’t need to worry about betterment fees for new parts. 

Emergency Towing

Nobody wants to be stranded out on a lake or river in a Seadoo of all things, fully exposed to the elements. If you run into a mechanical mishap or require towing, your coverage can provide reimbursement for the required services. This is an important policy element to have, as it ensures that you don’t need to get additional coverage somewhere else for towing or recovery.

What’s the Cost of Insuring a Seadoo?

When insuring a Seadoo, Kawasaki or Yamaha jet ski in Ontario, the approximate cost will depend on several factors. Chief among them is your own background. If you are a high-risk boater with a history of several insurance claims and a bad record, for instance, then the rate will be much higher. Other factors include the condition of your vessel and its manufacturing year. 

What Does an Insurer Need to Know About My Seadoo?

Should you decide to insure your Seadoos, Kawasaki and Yamaha, there are several important factors that need to be given to the provider. These include the length, vessel type, approximate value, intended use case and the frequency of said use, your boating experience, the condition of the vessel, and more. You also need to factor in whether you will have coverage active for when the Seadoo, Kawasaki or Yamaha watercraft is being stored at home or transported on the road.

Tips on Getting the Right Seadoo Insurance for Your Needs

Next, let’s explore some precautionary steps you should take when shopping around for Seadoo insurance. These include the following:

End-to-End Coverage is Important

Are you only planning on taking your Seadoo, Kawasaki or Yamaha jet ski out for the occasional spin on a hot summer’s day or two each year? Or are you planning on spending every weekend up in cottage country out on local waterways and lakes? Regardless, ensure that you are covered from end to end, including when transporting your Seadoo, Kawasaki or Yamaha jet ski from the home to the lake. 

Will You be the Only One Onboard?

Even if you are the one who always sits in the driver’s seat, Seadoo insurance can protect the passenger riding in the back as well. For example, if a passenger is injured and wishes to seek damages, your policy’s liability coverage will kick in. As a general best practice, it makes more sense to have peace of mind for everyone on the water, helping you focus on navigating safely and having a great time!  

What’s Covered, and What Isn’t?

Do your homework when shopping around. If an insurance provider recommends you something without towing, recovery, agreed value, ingestion, or damage coverage, it’s best to keep looking and gauge your options. Even if the price is tantalizingly low, not having sufficient coverage can cost you a whole lot more in the long run. Save yourself the stress and financial strain.

Read Up on the Provider’s Instructions for Submitting a Claim

Even if you find a great option, submitting a claim is a whole different process. Providers will have their own specific sets of requirements, so it’s better to brush up on these in advance. This way, you’ll know what to do when or if you run into trouble. Our own submission guidelines can be found here.

In conclusion, while Seadoo insurance isn’t technically required, we know from experience that it is essential for boaters of all backgrounds and levels of expertise. To learn more about our policy options or to discuss your coverage needs, reach out to us or request a quote today. We’re happy to assist!

How to Save Money on Your Boat Insurance

How to Save Money on Your Boat Insurance

As the winter ice melts and the ground thaws in time for spring, boaters start to look at the season ahead in eager anticipation to get back on the water. Boating has grown in popularity over the last few years as an exciting way to explore nearby lakes and rivers. With the 2022 season fast approaching, you might be wondering if it is time to review your boat’s insurance policy.

Although boat insurance does not cover wear and tear costs or freezing damages, it is important to help keep your vessel in good working condition. This can be costly, but worry not, as we have put together a list of our best boat insurance tips to help you save while ensuring peace of mind.

Have the Right Deductible

It might be tempting to increase your deductible as much as possible so it can offset and thus lower your premiums. This isn’t necessarily the right move. While you will be assuming more risk by increasing your deductible, the difference in the cost to you can be higher. This is especially true if you experience several incidents of minor damages, where you will be paying out of pocket without any assistance from your insurer. Weigh the deductible against your risk tolerance, ability to pay out of pocket, and the premiums you are comfortable paying each month.

Bundling Isn’t Always Better

Some insurers might encourage you to bundle your home, auto, and boat insurance together to reduce your premium. However, if you file a claim on your boat for a repair, the rates for your home and auto insurance could increase as a result. With a dedicated marine insurance provider, you work with professionals who understand watercraft and the incidents that can happen with them. Plus, you are more likely to get a competitive price and coverage that leaves nothing to chance.

Understand Actual Cash vs. Agreed Amount Value

It is important to understand the two kinds of payouts available if your boat should be damaged beyond repair. Each plays a role in the cost of your premium. With agreed amount value or coverage, you will be paid for the value of your boat agreed between you and the insurer at the time your policy was opened. For actual cash value or coverage, you will be paid the value of your boat at the time of the payout, which will have depreciated since you opened the policy. Actual cash value policy holders will pay less for their premiums, but may not receive the full amount required to buy a new replacement for their boat.

Know Your Navigational Limits

Cruising around in calmer waters plays a factor into how much you pay for boat insurance. You can save money by avoiding busy areas, which are more likely to cause accidents for even the most experienced of boaters. Inform your insurer about which bodies of water and thoroughfares you plan to typically navigate. This will help to determine coverage and may potentially mean stable premiums by keeping your boat in a central location.

What About Lay-Up Costs?

While a great summer pastime, boats should be winterized well before freezing temperatures occur. While your vessel is laid up, you could choose to remove your boat insurance as it is not being used, eliminating your premium. The problem is, however, that you won’t be covered if it is stolen or damaged. If you start up your policy again in the spring, you could face higher premiums as your boat has been uninsured for several months. Ask your insurer about reduced premiums in the winter months while the risk to your boat is low. We recommend a year-round active policy to do away with any off-season financial stresses.

Take a Course

It’s important to have your boating licence or Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), sure, not to mention knowing your vessel of choice inside-out, but there is so much more to learn when it comes to best boating practices. Participate in a safety course, for instance, or take a class on recreational boating tips to improve your skills. Courses that offer certificates of completion are great to have on hand to show a thorough understanding of navigation, handling, safe docking, and otherwise. Demonstrate to your insurer that you have an increased level of preparedness and knowledge about what can happen on the water.

Keep Safety Equipment Well-Stocked and Maintained

There are several safety factors to consider when launching your boat into the water. Once you leave dry land, it is important to be prepared for any emergency that could occur on the water. A thorough amount of safety and preparedness equipment means you are aware of the risks of boat operation and want to do everything in your power to keep you and your passengers safe from injury.

Ensure you have the following fully stocked and well-maintained:

  • First aid kit
  • Lifejackets for everyone on board
  • Life buoy
  • Bailer bucket or hand pump to remove unwanted water from inside the boat
  • Sound signalling device and navigation lights in times of reduced visibility
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Waterproof flashlight and flares
  • Manual propelling device and anchor with 15 metres of rope or chain 

While it is not required by law, boat insurance proves itself to be just as important as auto insurance when it comes to protecting your investment from damages or liabilities. Understanding your policy means you can make informed decisions about the maintenance of your boat and feel secure bringing passengers aboard. Standard boat insurance policies typically cover all-risk situations, meaning any risk not omitted from the policy is covered like theft, vandalism, fire, lightning strikes and storms. Liability is another key piece of boating insurance and policies usually include coverage for injuries and property damage. 

At Portside Insurance, we know that protecting your investment and ensuring the safety of everyone on board is your top priority. However, we also know it’s possible to save money while maintaining peace of mind. Our boat insurance policies keep costs under control while also ensuring optimal coverage for your boat and its voyages to come. Contact us to learn more.

5 Insurance Factors to Consider When Buying a New Boat

Dreaming of taking to the water, exploring the great outdoors by boat, and making aquatic memories with friends and loved ones? You’re not alone; boating is an iconic Canadian pastime in its own right, much the same as fishing or even hockey. However, it’s a lot more complicated by comparison. You are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of your investment, all onboard occupants, and those of nearby vessels, in the water, and even on the shore who interact with your boat. 

One can never guarantee that a mishap won’t occur. From break-ins to running aground, damage from winter storms while in storage, component failures leading to an accident and even unintended negligence, there are plenty of reasons why boating insurance is crucial. It might not be required by law, but it might as well be, if only to protect you and your finances. 

With that in mind, let’s explore several insurance factors you should consider before buying your boat, not afterwards. These will help to ensure smoother sailing and a better overall experience as a boater. Let’s dive in!

Our Boat Insurance in Canada Checklist

Today, we’ll cover the following takeaways:

  • Obtain a Pleasure Craft Operators’ Card (PCOC)
  • Incorporate Insurance and Policy Add-On Costs into Your Budget
  • Read the Fine Print!
  • Where Will You Store Your Boat in the Wintertime or When Not in Use?
  • Look for a Year-Round Policy that Offers Agreed Value Coverage

Obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)

Are you licensed? This should be the first step before shopping for any type of boat or insurance. A Pleasure Craft Operator Card, otherwise referred to as a PCOC or boating licence, is required for any motor-powered vessel in Canada. If you don’t reside in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, you’ll need this proof of competency, which can be obtained by passing a boating safety course test. This can be done either in-person or online, and upon passing, you’ll receive your PCOC. 

As we’ve explored in-depth previously, a licence is not the same as a boating certificate or vessel registration, so be sure to read up on the differences between them before proceeding. In short, certification is optional. Licensing is not. Without it, you run the risk of being denied insurance for your vessel, holding you responsible for any expenses related to a mishap, theft, or collision. 

Incorporate Insurance and Policy Add-On Costs into Your Budget

When shopping for boat insurance, you ought to be mindful of the overall cost, of course, but don’t stop there. What about the policy coverage elements themselves? Do they cover all the essential angles? Find out beforehand whether the package in question takes care of expenses such as coverage for personal effects, recovery costs and towing, or even reimbursement in the event of a necessary hotel stay or car rental caused by an accident while boating.

In addition, if your boat needs to be repaired, will the insurance provider arrange for new or refurbished parts? To minimize maintenance hassles and get the very most out of your policy, we recommend looking for one that clearly states that new parts will be arranged for any boat repairs. If there are no betterment fees to worry about, then that’s more good news for you and your budget.

All in all, the following are some of the key elements you should ensure your policy includes:

  • Towing and assistance
  • Trailer, storage, and transportation coverage
  • Liability
  • Hotel and/or rental vehicle reimbursement in the event of an emergency
  • New part replacements and repair services
  • Personal effects and onboard/non-removable equipment

You should also consider finding a boating insurance company that bundles all the essentials or can offer a personalized policy solution to meet your needs. It’s well worth it for the peace of mind!

Read the Fine Print! 

Some boaters don’t look too deeply into the specifics of the policy they sign up for; this is a dangerous approach as your coverage may not take care of every perceived expense that concerns you. When making a large investment such as this, it’s better to take your time, not jump into buying that sleek and beautiful vessel right away. Always examine the insurance documentation set before you. The fine print will outline all the terms and conditions, and once you sign, you must comply with the policy in question. 

Boat insurance doesn’t automatically cover every single expense under the sun, either; you’re expected as the owner to properly maintain and responsibly utilize the vessel, abiding by local boating laws wherever your outdoor adventures take you. General wear and tear is typically not factored into insurance for this reason, for instance, as boats are exposed to the elements whenever not stored away. Therefore, degradation over the years with continued use is to be expected, even with upkeep, much like with a regular automobile. 

Where Will You Store Your Boat in the Wintertime or When Not in Use?

Different risks may present themselves depending on where your boat is when not being enjoyed out on the water. For instance, when docked in a marina during a storm, a line may snap and cause it to jostle about and scrape against another vessel. Or, while transporting it from your property to a boat launch, an accident on the road could damage it severely. 

These things happen. They often can’t be avoided. However, while most boat insurance policies will cover storage, it’s important to ensure that whatever you have active will be applicable towards however you intend to transport and store it. If you have auto insurance, its liability protection can kick in when towing the boat on a trailer. Boat insurance is ideal for storage in marinas or other similar environments during the off season, and for reimbursing for the cost of the vessel itself. The optimal approach is to have auto and boat insurance to ensure there are no liability risks or unforeseen expenses left for you to deal with out-of-pocket. 

Look for a Year-Round Policy that Offers Agreed Value Coverage

If you see a policy offering cash value, it means that the payout will be based on the perceived market value of the boat or components damaged. Agreed value coverage is the better choice for boaters of all skill levels and backgrounds, as it does what it says on the tin: it’s the agreement between you and the insurer of the value. This means that no depreciation will occur in the event of a total loss, and it guarantees that brand-new replacement parts can be installed without exceeding your coverage limit. Lastly, your insurance should be active all year long, not just during peak boating season, as damage and/or other mishaps can happen just as easily during the colder months or when in storage. 
Want to learn more about boating insurance fundamentals, or are you curious about our own options here at Portside Marine Insurance? We’re happy to help you make the most informed and effective decision possible with our personalized solutions! Get in touch with us to learn more, or request a quote today.

7 Tips to Protect Your Boat in the Wintertime

7 Tips to Protect Your Boat in the Wintertime

For many, boating is more than a passion – it often feels more like an essential part of their lives. When so deeply invested in such a hobby, both in terms of personal interest and from a financial perspective, it’s best to look out for your vessel at all times. This is especially important in the colder months of the year here in Canada, which can be brutal and unrelenting at times, meaning an increased risk of damage to your boat of choice. 

Today, let’s help you look after your investment. Here are several tips for protecting your boat from winter weather, howling winds, and the bitter cold. Some of these will apply specifically to when your vessel is stored in the water, such as those focusing on pumping and bilge systems.

Close the Seacocks (But Not All of Them)

Seacocks are among the most important components on a boat, and they can be found on most vessels. This is a small valve below the waterline that allows for water to flow inside in a tightly controlled manner, which can be useful for cooling down the engine. It also consists of extremely meticulously arranged internal threads that can lead to excess water ingress if compromised or left open indefinitely. You’ll want to close all onboard seacocks except for the one in the cockpit area. Verify that this is done before storing your boat away for the winter, as you won’t need their functionality when the vessel isn’t in use. Also, for the cockpit, it’s a good idea for the cockpit to ensure the scuppers aren’t full of debris such as leaves, twigs, or seaweed. 

Examine the Bilge Pump

Next, you’ll want to ensure your bilge pumping system is capable of operating throughout the winter. It should be able to function correctly even if the built-in battery switch is set to the off position. Double-check to ensure that it works as it should, as this system is designed to eject excess water from the hull in the event of a penetration. It’s not a guarantee that the boat will remain afloat, especially if the hull has been gashed open severely, but it should provide a little peace of mind.

Proper Ventilation is Key

Of course, damage from snow and ice storms isn’t the only risk; protecting your boat from winter weather also means safeguarding it against mould and mildew. This can be caused by excess water or moisture accumulation onboard, such in conditions with high humidity leading to condensation buildup over several months in indoor storage. Wherever you’re planning on storing the vessel for the winter, ensure it is fully ventilated and cycles the air thoroughly, as this will help to prevent the buildup of excess moisture and stagnant air.

Remove All Valuables

Not only can electronics be inadvertently damaged by temperature fluctuations or moisture, but if someone happens to take a fancy to your vessel and target it for a robbery, they won’t be stolen. The same goes for any highly valuable items that can be removed easily, such as irreplaceable documents, valuables stored in a compartment, and watersports equipment stored onboard.

Winterize Your Boat from Bow to Stern

There are several sub-steps associated with winterization. For starters, fill your vessel’s onboard fuel tanks and add a stabilizer to help look after the engine while inactive. Don’t forget to drain water from the engine as well. You should also change the engine oil, replace any fuel filters, and ensure that your coolant levels are ideal for months in storage. Lastly, for added protection of your engine if it uses gasoline, you might want to consider fogging your cylinders so moisture doesn’t accumulate.

Now that the “dirtier” work is out of the way, it’s a good idea to winterize the rest of your boat’s deck and interior spaces. Examples include removing all perishables like food, draining your water heater and onboard holding tanks, ensuring no water is pooling on-deck where it could otherwise freeze and cause damage, and turning off all heating systems, including propane tanks. The only thing that should be left on is your bilge pump, which should, again, be cleaned out and dry prior to saying goodbye to your vessel for the winter. 

Cover Your Boat and Lock it Up!

We can’t emphasize this step enough. Covering your vessel with a properly fitting tarp that isn’t too loose or tight can prevent snow, ice, and water from getting on the deck, into navigation equipment, and elsewhere including in the cabin or head (if applicable). This also protects the hull itself, which is especially important if yours is made of fibreglass and/or has a coating applied to it. 

Of course, no matter where you plan on storing your boat, it’s just good practice to lock everything up before storing it for the winter. If storing at a secure marina, hand over an extra set of keys so your boat can be looked after without you having to stop by. 

Locking doesn’t only apply to doors, storage cabinets, and other similar areas; it also extends to the navigational equipment. Tying down your steering wheel or tiller is one such example, which prevents the rudder from moving about and getting damaged. It can also apply to tying up the boat in a manner that centres it in the slip, a crucial step that must be done properly. Lines should be able to hold indefinitely without excess slack as the vessel may otherwise shift, snap one or more of them, and subsequently break free.

Secure a Boat Insurance Policy with Storage and Year-Round Coverage

Lastly and most importantly, you should always be prepared for the unexpected, especially when it comes to owning, operating, and storing a boat of any size. Customized boat insurance coverage options are typically the optimal approach, such as ours offering increased coverage for personal effects, recovery costs, and agreed value. We’ll also provide new parts for any repairs needed from winter storm damage, and without any frustrating betterment fees. Additionally, boat insurance policies like ours offer 12-month-a-year coverage, including when being transported on the road, taking to the water, and stored, meaning your investment is always financially safeguarded. Generally, filing a claim should be easy and straightforward, and you should look for a reputable provider specializing in boating insurance as they tend to offer more comprehensive coverage. 

If you’re seeking peace of mind when it comes to protecting your boat in the winter months or any other time of the year, we’re happy to assist here at Portside Marine Insurance. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized policy coverage options.

5 Reasons Why You Need Boat Insurance

5 Reasons Why You Need Boat Insurance

You’re required to have insurance to cover your home and car from damage and liability, but not your boat. So does that mean you shouldn’t purchase boat insurance? Over the course of these five essential reasons why boat insurance is still worth getting, we’ll reveal the importance of financially protecting yourself and your aquatic assets.

Why Get Boat Insurance?

Boat insurance may not be required by law but it’s an absolute necessity. An accident could not only destroy your boat, but it might also cause bodily injury and damage to other property. Without insurance, you would be on the hook to pay for all the repairs, medical bills, funeral expenses, lawyer fees, and any other costs associated with the incident. Considering the average boat insurance claim is in the five-figure range, it quite literally pays to have insurance to protect you and your investment.  

Let’s look a little closer at some of the main reasons why you need boat insurance in Canada.

To Protect Your Investment

A boat is an expensive vehicle, often costlier than the average car on the road today. Similar to your car and home, your vessel is an investment that is worth protecting. And the only way to protect your boat and the people who ride inside it is through insurance. 

Similar to how car and home insurance will cover any damages that occur to your vehicle and property, boat insurance will provide damage coverage for the loss of your vessel and equipment. Property coverage is designed to kick in for the boat on land and water, not to mention reimbursement for theft or vandalism. 

When choosing a policy, you’ll need to decide between actual cash value or agreed value coverage if the boat is stolen or destroyed in an accident. The agreed value coverage will come with a higher premium because it does not factor in the depreciation of the boat over time. With this type of coverage, you will be reimbursed for the amount of money it would take to replace your vessel with a similar model, or to restore it to the same condition it was in before the accident. With the actual cash value of your boat, depreciation is factored in, and the insurance company will determine the current value and pay you based on that amount. 

You should also look at the coverage and how it pertains to the boat while it’s being trailered. If yours is damaged when being transported, you will need to understand what the insurance will cover versus your auto insurance, and whether all damage costs can be reimbursed.

Other things to consider include the personal items you had on your boat. If it is severely damaged and needs to be towed, is the cost included and will the insurance provide you with a rental boat until it’s repaired? Or, if the vessel sinks or leaks fuel, will the policy cover for wreck removal and/or environmental liability?

To Protect Other Property

Most boating accidents involve another boat or property. In the event that yours damages someone else’s property, such as their vessel or dock, the liability coverage in the insurance policy would pay for those damages. That said, you’ll also want a guarantee that it will cover those damages if your boat is out of water and in transport. 

To Protect Your Financial Health

Liability coverage will also pay for any bodily injury that results from an accident. This includes any swimmers, water skiers, or other boaters. In addition, it will compensate for any legal fees you incur if you are sued.

You’ll need to consider exactly how much liability coverage you will need. The policy will come with a standard liability insurance amount, but we recommend having at least $1,000,000 in liability coverage. For those with more expensive vessels that have bigger engines and can carry more people, you might want to consider purchasing up to $2,000,000 in liability insurance to financially protect you and all your passengers.

If you are docking your boat at a marina or you are leasing or financing a vessel, you may be required to have a certain amount of liability insurance as part of your agreement. Be sure to read the fine print before you settle on a policy to ensure you have all the coverage you need.

To Pay for Medical Expenses

Medical payments coverage can pertain to a range of medical services, medications, and treatment plans. It’s always important to look at the fine print to determine exactly what is taken care of by the policy and up to what amount. Not all insurance companies provide the same amount of medical payments coverage; some will offer better options than others. 

To Cover You if the Person at Fault is Uninsured

Not everyone on the water has boat insurance, which can put you at risk. If you do not have any and are hit by another boater who also does not have insurance, you would only be eligible for compensation if you were to sue that person. And without insurance, you could only sue them for what they are worth. The rest of your medical bills, damages, and otherwise would have to come out of your own pocket including expensive legal fees. 

Our recommendation is to double-check that your policy includes uninsured boater coverage. This will ensure that, if you are involved in an accident and the other person is uninsured, you will be eligible to receive the maximum amount as stated within it.

So, why get boat insurance in the first place? Because it’s the only way to protect your investment and finances, all while giving you peace of mind that your passengers and others in the water are also looked after financially. Let us help you get the ideal coverage for your boating needs at the lowest rates available. Contact us today at Portside Insurance for further details or assistance.

Ontario Boat Registration: An Overview, Plus a Comparison to Licensing

boat on water

If you own a boat of any kind, it’s in your best interests to register it. Ontario boat registration, in particular, has a specific set of steps that need to be followed. With that said, we’ve had plenty of folks reach out to us wondering not only whether registration is even a necessity, but also how to go about doing so. 

Today, let’s explore the fundamentals of Ontario boat registration in more detail. We’ll also compare it to a boat licence – something completely different yet often confused with registration – along the way. With our help, we hope you can make as informed a decision as possible regarding your investment. Let’s get started!

What is Ontario Boat Registration?

Boat trailer insurance falls under the greater umbrella of trailer insurance, as you’re First, the basics. Boat registration is exactly what it sounds like: the registering of a vessel under the owner’s name. It serves the same purpose in any province or territory in Canada. In addition, a designated port of registry will be included (think of the city name found on the stern of a cruise ship or other vessels you’ve likely seen – that’s what this is). It’s handy for demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that you indeed own and operate the vessel in question, which means your registration can be used in situations like obtaining boat insurance in Ontario, signing up for a marine mortgage, or otherwise.

The Ontario Boat Registration Process

In order to register, you must first complete an online application. This is a remarkably streamlined and efficient process compared to how it used to be! With that in mind, when submitting your application, there are important elements that you need to include in order to register a boat in Ontario specifically. These include the following:

A high-quality photograph of your vessel

This must be taken in a way that shows the entire boat in a side profile (in other words, with the camera facing either the port or starboard side of the hull). Only your boat should be visible in the image – never anyone else’s.

One valid piece of government-issued photo ID

The scan should be high enough in quality so any identifying numbers and letters – as well as your photograph – are not distorted or unclear.

Any proof of ownership that you have in your possession

Depending on how you ended up owning the vessel, this may include a will if it was inherited, a divorce agreement if you retained ownership when dividing assets, or a standard receipt and/or quote confirming your purchase.

Third-party authorization letter

This is only required if someone is applying for the boat licensing on your behalf. This would be in a form of a signed letter stating that the owner has authorized the third party to represent them.

Registering a Boat Versus Licensing it

There’s a common misconception that registering a boat in Ontario and licensing it are the same thing. However, that’s not the case. As explored in detail on Transport Canada’s dedicated Frequently Asked Questions page on boat licensing and registration, there are clear differences that make these two terms unique from one another. 

First, as per the Canadian Shipping Act, registration is optional for pleasure craft of any variety and size, unless an exception warrants registration as a requirement. For example, a vessel needs to be registered if you ever plan on leaving Canadian waters in it, such as on an excursion to ports in the United States. 

Second, should your vessel be under 15 tons of gross tonnage, you have the option of entering it into either the Canadian Register of Vessels or the Small Vessel Register. Third, you will need to pay a registration fee, but it’s valid for as long as the vessel being registered remains under your ownership. With a licence, you’ll need to renew it every ten years.

Lastly, you must always keep your registration paperwork aboard the vessel along with any other relevant documents related to your ownership. As noted by Transport Canada, this is to protect you against complications related to fines, customs, or otherwise. It’s also important to note that commercial registrations are more complex with more unique terms and requirements. We recommend viewing the Frequently Asked Questions on Transport Canada’s website we linked above to further explore those details.

What if You Want to License and Register Your Boat?

Once again, referencing Transport Canada’s website, you cannot obtain a license and register your boat. It must be one or the other. This might sound confusing as many individuals have asked us, “Don’t I need a licence to operate a boat?” but it’s not exactly the case. In fact, you only need a pleasure craft licence if your boat has a total motor output capability of 10 horsepower or more (in wattage, this is 7.5 kilowatts). Bear this in mind when considering the type of boat you intend to purchase if you haven’t done so already, as personal pleasure craft are also subject to this rule.

So, what is a Boating Licence Exactly?

To help you further understand the importance of registering a boat in Ontario, let’s clear the air a little more on what exactly a boat licence is. For pleasure craft in particular, a licence is essentially a unique number assigned to the vessel in question. Like with the registration of the owner, designated port, and other similar details, a licence needs to be kept on board at all times and can also be applied for online purposes. If you go with a licence instead of registering your boat, this identifying number needs to be displayed clearly on the port and starboard sides of the hull.

This was just an overview of the fundamentals, but we hope our exploration of boat registry in Ontario – and clarifying how it differs from a licence – helps you make the best possible decision for your pleasure craft of choice. For assistance with marine insurance policies and protecting your investment, the Portside team is happy to help you ensure smooth sailing and years of peace of mind. Get in touch with us today or request a quote!

Do You Need Boat Insurance in BC

Do You Need Boat Insurance in BC

Your boat is more than just a pleasure craft – it’s an investment that you want to maintain for years to come. And although boating insurance is not required by law in Canada, it’s still a necessity. Boating insurance will provide you with the peace of mind you need when you’re out on the water or have your boat docked or stored away. The insurance is designed to protect you from any mishaps – like if you are involved in an accident or your boat is damaged, stolen or vandalized. Most lenders also require insurance if you plan to finance your boat, and you should also expect to show proof of insurance if you plan to use one of our nation’s many marinas. So if you’re wondering, do you need boat insurance in BC, the short answer is yes, if you want to protect your investment, any passengers, and utilize marinas. Read on to learn more.

Who Offers Boat Insurance in BC?

There are lots of insurance companies that offer a range of coverage options for your boat. The question is, which one is the right one for your specific needs? The answer isn’t always clear-cut, and it can take some due diligence and shopping around to find a boat insurance option that works for you. Fortunately, you have access to an educated insurance brokerage here at Portside Insurance who will do all the work for you. It’s our job to determine your exact needs and then find a policy that is best suited for your boating lifestyle.

What Does Boating Insurance in BC Cover?

Boating insurance is designed to cover liability and damages. So if you are in an accident when out on the water and someone is injured, the insurance will help protect you financially if a lawsuit emerges. The insurance will also cover any damages that happen to your boat and other property involved in the accident. In the unfortunate event that your boat is stolen or vandalized, boating insurance will also kick in to cover you in these circumstances as well. 

What Factors will Affect the Price of the Policy?

There are many things that an insurance company needs to consider before putting together a policy for you. This includes the type and size of the boat, the engine strength, how often you use it and where you use it, the age and value of the boat, among other things. The insurance company will also be looking at you personally – your age, boating history, your location, and other risk factors. All of these things combined will help the insurance company decide on the type of coverage you need and the premium that will go along with it. As you can imagine, every insurance company calculates things a little differently, and you won’t really know if you are being offered a fair package unless you’ve reached out to a number of other companies as well. That’s why it’s important to speak with an insurance broker who can make sure you receive the right amount of coverage and at the lowest rates for your lifestyle.

Can Boating Insurance Cover My Seadoo too?

Yes, there is a policy available that will also cover your seadoo too. We can save you the time and energy it will take trying to find a policy that will cover the exact type of pleasure craft you own and all the accessories that come with you. At Portside Insurance BC, we will help customize a policy that perfectly suits your needs. Whether you own a large speedboat, small sailboat, or fishing boat, we’ll make sure you get the right policy. 

Other Things to Consider

Having a basic policy to cover liability and damages is great, but what about emergency boat towing or the trailer? We will ensure you get the right amount of coverage so you’re never paying for more or receiving less coverage than necessary. If you have a boat trailer, GPS system, or other accessories, we’ll ensure those items are covered under the policy. We’ll also check over the fine print and go through everything with you in detail so that you fully understand what you are paying for.

Our representatives will take the time to explain all of the options available to you, including:

  • Upgraded replacement cost
  • Emergency Towing and Salvage
  • Emergency Expense Reimbursements
  • Loss of use or replacement
  • Additional Liability Insurance
  • Fishing equipment and supplies
  • Trailer 
  • Personal effects and more

Discounts and Bundles

Did you know that you may be eligible for a discount? Don’t expect the insurance company to tell you about that. Luckily, your insurance broker is ready to explain all the discounts and bundled options available to you.  

Making a Claim Should Be Easy, Not Hard

Finding the right coverage and premium is important, but so is the service that the insurance company offers. If you need to make a claim, you want to rest assured that the insurance company is going to work diligently on your file and pay what is owed to you swiftly. Unfortunately, that is not always the case with certain insurance companies. That’s why our insurance brokerage handles the claims for our clients and ensures that they have someone in their corner when a mishap does happen.

Why Choose Portside Insurance in BC

Our expert insurance brokers will take the time to understand your needs clearly, to ensure that you get the right policy tailored to those needs. But where we really stand out from the other brokerages here in BC is our service. We are a family-owned and operated business that has been boating across our Canadian lakes for over 90 years. We not only understand the importance of having the right insurance to protect your family and others on the water, but we also care that our friends and those within our community are properly covered as well. We make it our responsibility to find our clients the highest quality boating insurance there is so that everyone involved can sleep easy.  Contact us today for more information. 

Do I Need Boat Trailer Insurance?

Do I Need Boat Trailer Insurance?

If you’re one of the many boat owners in Ontario, you likely know what it’s like to haul your boat back and forth from your home to the lake. Whether you do it all season long or only when opening and closing your cottage, having a bulky object attached to your car makes for a daunting drive. You might (and should) already have boat insurance in case something goes wrong on the road, but what about the hefty trailer that’s helping you get from point A to point B? Is it properly covered if you get in an accident, and does it have to be? Here’s a quick and easy guide to boat trailer insurance to help you make an informed decision. 

What is Boat Trailer Insurance?

Boat trailer insurance falls under the greater umbrella of trailer insurance, as you’re hitching something to the back of your car that you can’t see that you have less control over. Boat trailer insurance specifically covers trailers for watercraft, since they’re such a specialized item. This coverage may be built into one of your other policies, or you can get special insurance that provides greater protection.

What Does Boat Trailer Insurance Cover?

Boat trailer insurance usually covers damage to the trailer regardless of whether or not it’s attached to your car, at your home, or your boat. The basic policy will cover property damage to the boat trailer and bodily injury in case of an accident. You can get your policy extended.

Boat trailers are left on land when boaters take to the water, which makes them the preferred targets for vandalism. Since boat trailers are generally expensive, they have a higher likelihood of being unhitched and stolen when left unattended, as they’re easy to haul away without proper locking systems in place. Comprehensive coverage is designed to protect boat trailer owners when this occurs. This coverage also extends to severe weather damage. 

If your boat trailer is already covered under your auto policy, you may still want to get boat trailer insurance to extend the liability coverage. This will cover more of the legal fees, medical bills, and property damages in the event of an accident, though your car must be involved in the accident for it to be covered under the auto policy. 

Collision damage is another matter. It covers your trailer if it is in a traffic accident while not attached to your vehicle. This can happen if someone else is hauling it home for you, or if it detaches from your car on the road.

Do I Need Boat Trailer Insurance in Ontario? 

Just like how boat insurance isn’t required by law in Ontario, boat trailer insurance isn’t a mandated necessity. However, considering the damage that can be caused by a trailer or to a trailer in a traffic accident, plus the fact that they are easy targets for theft, vandalism, and weather damage, boat trailer insurance is a smart investment. This is especially true in Canada where we face extreme weather conditions every winter, and therefore, your trailer is effectively at a constant risk of suffering weather damage. 

A boat trailer can cost up to $5,000. These are extremely valuable pieces of kit. Damages and theft affecting them are usually only covered under boat trailer insurance, so while it isn’t necessary to purchase this specialized coverage, you may want to get it anyways since it could end up saving you money in the long run. 

Is My Boat Trailer Covered by My Auto, Home or Boat Insurance?

It’s possible that you’ll get some coverage from your trailer under your auto, home, and/or boat policy, but the coverage won’t be comprehensive. If you’re filing a claim for your trailer through another policy, usually, it will only cover you for bodily injury or property damage. Even then, you might not be eligible. 

Various conditions often need to be met for the coverage to apply as well. For example, as noted previously, your boat trailer will have to be attached to your car for it to be covered under your auto insurance. If, for whatever reason, it detaches on the road and causes damage or is destroyed in a collision, your claim may no longer be valid. 

Homeowners’ insurance will cover your trailer if you store it at home rather than at a marina over the winter. However, if you have boat insurance, you may choose to keep your boat stored at your cottage throughout the winter to keep your premiums down. Your boat trailer will not be covered by homeowners’ insurance if you leave it at the cottage. 

Some boat insurance policies cover boat trailers, but others do not. Speak to your provider about what you’ll get for your boat trailer under these policies, and what conditions need to be met.

How Much Does Boat Trailer Insurance Cost?

The cost of boat trailer insurance will vary based on a variety of factors. Speak to your provider about bundling your boat trailer insurance with other policies since you can save money this way. When you carry multiple policies with the same insurance company or independent agent, this is often a viable option because it makes it easier for clients to file claims. 

Your premiums will be affected by other factors including the size of the boat trailer, how often you use it, and how it is used. If you add coverage to your policy, your premiums will rise, but you’ll have more protection in the event of an accident. Popular add-ons include liability extensions, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.

Based on years of assisting dedicated boaters with their claims, we know how essential getting out on the water is for many. That’s why Portside Marine Insurance is proud to bring you the very best in boat insurance policies. With offices in Ottawa, Kelowna, and Calgary, we’re widely available across Canada and want to see you safely out onto whichever lakes or oceans call your name. Reach out to us and ask for a quote or more information today!

How To Insure A Boat In BC

How To Insure A Boat In BC

Whether you’re becoming a first-time boat owner or have been relying on your homeowner’s insurance to cover a vessel you already have, it’s time to consider getting separate boat insurance. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to insure a boat in BC, ensuring you can sail smoothly and with an absolute peace of mind. 

Do You Need to Insure Your Boat in BC?

Legally speaking, no, you don’t have to have boat insurance to operate a boat in BC. That being said, you’ll probably still want to get it. Homeowners’ insurance won’t adequately cover your vessel in case of an accident, and the amount of coverage you get can vary significantly. Without separate insurance for your boat, you could end up paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for repairs, injuries, medical bills, legal fees, and more. Furthermore, if you want to dock at a marina, they will likely require you to have boat insurance in the first place.

How Do I Get Boat Insurance? 

The insurer in question will need to know a few things about your vessel so that they can give you a quote. These include the following:

  • Vessel length, type, and value
  • Age and condition of vessel, as they can depreciate in value as the years go on
  • Boat usage frequency and use case (pleasure cruises, fishing, etc.)
  • Where and how the boat is stored
  • Where you sail (specific lakes, ocean coastlines, rivers, etc.)
  • Navigational experience and previous insurance history
  • Whether you’ve taken boating courses and/or sail competitively

What Kind of Insurance Do You Need for a Boat?

Boat policies have a variety of coverages built into them. Talk to your provider about what their standard policy will offer you. Some providers may offer additional coverages built into the price of their standard policy. With others, you may have to pay extra to get them. Here are the coverages you should expect to be provided with your boat, as well as some you should consider adding on. 

Collision Damage

Collision damage coverage will cover the repair or replacement of the boat, which can save you thousands of dollars. The one caveat is that you might not get towing services or salvage coverage. Those are often offered as separate insurance add-ons, which you should consider including in your package since the cost can otherwise be high.

Property Damage

This coverage is for when you’re an at-fault driver. If you hit another boat, a dock, or other property and cause damage, you’ll be insured for any damages caused as a result. Even if you’re a careful and considerate navigator on the water, accidents can still happen where you inadvertently are the one responsible for an incident. 

Injury Liability Coverage

As a boat owner, you are responsible for the safety of your passengers. That means if someone onboard is injured during the collision, you can be sued, especially if it is found that you were negligent. Injury liability coverage covers legal fees, the cost of medical bills, prescription drugs for injuries caused by the accident, and loss of income as a result of those injuries. 


Comprehensive Coverage

This is another kind of coverage that doesn’t necessarily come with your policy but that you should get either way, especially if you plan to leave your boat docked at a marina or at the cottage over the winter. It covers incidences of vandalism, theft, fire, and floods. Depending on your provider, it can even cover personal property of value like fishing gear and speakers. 

Coverage Value

There are two kinds of payouts if you make a claim: actual cash value and agreed value. With agreed value, you and your provider will decide how much your boat is worth when you sign the papers. That’s how much you’ll get if your vessel is damaged beyond repair. Talk to your provider about what exactly is covered by agreed value, especially since not all policies are created equal and some may cover more in terms of repair expenses than others. This is a great option for boat owners, largely since it consists of an easy application process and usually covers more than actual cash value. 

If you go with the actual cash value option, you’ll receive the value of the boat at the time of the crash. Boats naturally depreciate over time and are subject to wear and tear that comes with use, which is taken into consideration when the actual cash value is determined. Actual cash value approaches are generally more cost-effective than when choosing an agreed value. It also means an easier claims process, which will take some stress out of your life. 

How Much Does Insurance Cost?

The average cost of insuring a boat varies depending on the type of vessel in question, its length, and how you plan to use it, which is why your insurance provider will want that information upfront. Other factors that can affect the cost of your insurance are your experience and whether your boating license is in good standing, courses that you’ve taken, the horsepower of the boat itself, your gender and age, and your credit score. The overall value of your vessel comes into play as well. A non-powered boat like a canoe will cost much less to insure than a yacht, for instance. Alternatively, the average powerboat costs a few hundred dollars a year to insure, and the price varies based on the previously mentioned factors. 

Having a proper insurance policy in place is like keeping a life jacket on board; it’s there to keep you afloat (in this case, financially) when an accident happens. While it’s easy to feel adventurous and excited at the prospects of waterborne fun and exploration, you should take every precaution to ensure your own safety beforehand. At Portside Insurance, we don’t skim over the details. We’re dedicated to finding the best boat insurance policy for you. Contact us today for more information.

9 Types of Boats You Should Consider Insuring

How Much Is Boat Insurance In Ontario

Interested in taking to the water this summer in Canada? We don’t blame you. Our team at Portside Marine Insurance is proud to offer a wide range of suitable policies, each refined to align with the needs and budgets of watercraft owners. That being said, boat varieties are a dime a dozen, and it can feel overwhelming in deciding which is ideal for you but also insurable. Today, to help you make a well-informed purchasing decision, let’s take a stroll down the promenade of common vessel types that are ideally suited to our marine insurance policies.

Aluminum Fishing Boats

Simple in design and functionality, aluminum fishing boats are small, single-motor vessels. Their straightforward construction and minimal number of features, although containing plenty of seating and open space, make them a great choice for casting lines from either the port or starboard side. The propulsion unit, usually a single propellor and diesel or gas combustion engine housed in an outboard motor, is stern-mounted and can be turned on a 180-degree axis to help steer the vessel without the use of oars (though those are also available in a pinch). If you have trailer boat insurance, it will cover your aluminum fishing boat in the event of an accident, theft, or damage.


Zippy, nimble and lightweight, Seadoo vessels are small pleasure watercraft designed for speed and maneuverability. Usually capable of having space for a driver and passenger, their steering system is not unlike a bicycle or motorcycle; port and starboard handles are affixed to the driver’s dashboard housing, which features a windshield to protect onboard electronics. This housing can rotate, steering the vessel, so there’s no outboard motor. If you’re considering owning one of these, wearing a lifejacket is just as important as with any other boating choice, and having small craft insurance – or better still, dedicated Seadoo insurance – is essential for hassle-free repairs and agreed value coverage.

Bass Boats

Do you have bass boat insurance and a vessel classified as such? If so, we’re a little envious! These are wonderful choices for coastal fishing and can operate with ease in shallow waters as little as two feet in depth. With comfortable seating and room for standing while remaining balanced, their open-concept, outboard motor design makes them easy to maneuver. Usually, the driver and one or two passengers have plenty of space from which to cast off, and other features including an aerated livewell for catches and plenty of engine horsepower means you can not only look after the fish you collect but get back to shore in a timely manner.


Beautiful and sleek, sailboats always draw attention from the shore with their majestic, towering form. These are wonderful boats for day trips, sightseeing, and even pleasure cruises stopping in multiple docks along coastal areas. Propelled by large, billowing sails in addition to emergency backup motors if the weather isn’t quite so cooperative, they usually include plenty of open deck and cabin space, the latter of which normally features sleeping accommodations and a bathroom. There’s also plenty of storage onboard, perfect for when travelling with children or multiple passengers. 

Charter Boats

It’s crucial that you have charter boat insurance if you plan on renting a vessel out to others, even if you have someone able-bodied and experienced at the helm. Charter vessels include everything from sightseeing pleasure craft to ocean-ready fishing trawlers and even personal yachts. They’re usually booked for a long-distance itinerary such as out to the middle of Lake Ontario for fishing or a pleasure cruise stopping at multiple destinations. Setting this itinerary is known as a charter, hence the term and subsequent important charter boat insurance policies. Should your vessel become damaged, stolen, or otherwise, your plan can cover repair costs or even reimbursement for loss of the boat in question.

Jet Boats

With their sleek, aerodynamic form and state-of-the-art jet motors – usually two of them – jet boats offer a thrilling and fun new way to take to Canada’s many waterways and lakes. However, they demand a highly experienced driver with lightning-quick reflexes, not to mention a sharp eye. Propulsion systems are contained inside the hull itself rather than hanging outboard, lending to their increased agility and therefore reducing drag while cruising at high speed. With plenty of seating and even sunning areas, they make a great choice for a day trip or pleasure cruise, but it’s crucial that you’re well aware of the conditions around you including depth, obstructions such as rocks, and boating laws. Having the right insurance is important with jet boats as their increased speed and power make them more prone to accidents and damage if the driver is inexperienced.


One of the most popular types of personal watercraft in Canada, particularly in Ontario where the local waterways and lakes are generally smoother, bowriders offer the perfect combination of form and function. Living up to the name, they feature ample seating inset into the bow of the vessel, and further aft the driver’s and rear passenger seating area are protected by a large surround windshield. On some bowriders, the middle panel is simply not included, meaning you’ll have a window in front of the driver and passenger seat only with a space in the middle for bow access. On others, a middle window is included with a latching mechanism, allowing you to cut off bow access on a windy or choppy day. By design, bowriders are well stabilized, able to accommodate standing and sitting passengers with relative ease, and there’s usually plenty of onboard storage.

Cuddy Cabins

Think of these as the “big sister” of the bowrider – a larger, even more spacious vessel with bow access. However, this is where the similarities end, as cuddy cabin boats contain a small private cabin with storage, seating, and sometimes even a head (bathroom). There’s plenty of seating on board and usually, a platform affixed to the stern, jetting over and outwards from the propulsion units. This is typically a great spot for fishing, sunning, or for use as a swimming platform. 

Cruisers and Motor Yachts

These are the vessels many boaters aspire to own. Spacious, grand, and rich in amenities and features, personal cruisers and motor yachts are large and costly to own. However, especially if you have the ideal insurance policy in place and sufficient income to actively maintain one, they afford a luxurious waterborne lifestyle unlike that of most other vessels. Multi-day or even multi-week stays onboard are perfectly manageable as long as you have a sufficiently experienced crew and supplies, and they cruise at high speeds without much “bobbing” in the water thanks to their sheer size and room for powerful engines. With complete kitchens, living spaces and bathrooms, multiple bedrooms, and even a dedicated bridge or cockpit, they allow plenty of room for large groups of passengers. That being said, you must operate one of these with care and precision, following local charts and boating regulations. 

These are just some of the many common boat types out there deserving of an insurance policy. Looking after your investment means less financial stress and more time to enjoy what you love about being on the water. Whether fishing, pleasure cruising, chartering, or otherwise, we at Portside Marine Insurance are happy to help with all your personal watercraft insurance needs. Contact us today to learn more!