9 Tips to Prevent Boat Theft this Season

9 Tips to Prevent Boat Theft this Season

Boats are no joke when it comes to their cost on average, especially when moving up to larger and more powerful vessel types. Of course, that’s not everything of value regarding these investments, as boats often include state-of-the-art technologies, electronics aplenty and, in some cases, premium interior fittings and furnishings. 

Boat thieves target not only the vessel itself but also anything stored or installed onboard that could fetch a pretty penny at the pawn shop. To help you safeguard your investment and minimize the risk as best as possible, our team at Portside Marine Insurance has come up with some best practices to bear in mind. If you’re wondering how to prevent boat theft, you’ve come to the right place!

Never Store Personal Belongings Onboard Overnight

Boats come with plenty of storage, sometimes even safes, which can be tempting to use. Besides, who likes having to clear out their belongings every time they disembark? The issue here is, if you don’t do it, there’s a risk that someone else will. Jewellery, smartphones and tablets, laptops, portable video game systems, expensive fishing gear, and other similar items are all prime targets for thieves, especially if they see a beautiful and expensive-looking boat moored at the local marina.

Don’t Treat Marina Security as Guaranteed Protection

It’s easy to fall into a false sense of security if you pay for dedicated storage at a marina. Even when it’s boating season, if you dock your vessel at a marina or otherwise, know that any onsite security designed to deter thieves often won’t physically stop them from boarding. Fences can be clambered over, security cameras snuck around, and even electricity cut. It’s important to be realistic and sensible when storing your vessel; while it will likely be safer, there’s still a chance of someone trying to sneak aboard.

Get Boat Insurance that Covers Theft!

We’re sometimes asked the question, “does boat insurance cover theft?” Our answer is that, when choosing us, it certainly does, but not every marine insurance provider may offer it. While a boat insurance policy normally includes theft coverage, it may sometimes be excluded. When checking to determine whether a policy provides compensation for risks like fire or collision damage, you should take the time to ensure that theft is also listed as covered.

Avoid Making Your Vessel Attractive to Thieves

Fishing vessels, even smaller boats, are often targeted by thieves who want to make a quick getaway with expensive gear, including tackle boxes, lures, fishing rods, and specialized tools. Alternatively, speedboats and fancy cabin cruisers may be targeted for their resale value, especially if they have premium features that are easily visible on the outside, like expensive speaker systems or powerful motors. 

All these examples more or less involve displaying the vessel as an attractive option for thieves. Flashy paint jobs and extra décor elements can heighten the risk further, so be sure to minimize the attention your boat receives while using it! During the off-season period, when the boat is in storage, it’s more likely to blend in and not be as tempting among other vessels docked around it.

Avoid Showing Off on Social Media

This ties into our previous point, but it’s an important tip that too many boat owners overlook! While sharing photos of your beautiful new vessel with friends and family is fun and exciting, there’s a fine line that shouldn’t be crossed. Constantly Instagramming navigational updates or videos touring the cabin are ill-advised, as this calls attention to your vessel among strangers. Of course, a potential thief could be anyone, including those you know who may be desperate for additional money. Try to keep social media updates to a minimum.

Don’t Leave the Key in the Ignition!

Even if you’ve stopped for a quick bite to eat or to visit a friend at their cottage along your planned navigational route, you should always take your key with you whenever you dock. It’s no different than leaving a fancy car parked with the key in the ignition. On top of that, ironically, many boats don’t have tops or siding in the form of roofs, lockable doors, or cabins. Smaller vessels are often completely open without shade, meaning anyone can step aboard, turn the key, and take the boat for a spin. 

Chat with a Boat Insurance Provider About the Specifics

We can’t recommend this enough; the more you know in advance about the policy in question, the more informed a decision you’ll be able to make as to whether it’s sufficient for your needs as a boat owner. That includes knowing whether theft coverage pertains to strictly the vessel itself, onboard belongings, or both. You don’t want to find out the hard way by guessing, signing up without knowing the facts, and then learning that you aren’t covered if the unthinkable occurs!

Don’t Keep Your Papers Onboard!

You should always have your registration paperwork with you when using a boat, but that doesn’t mean it should be left onboard! If thieves get their hands on such documentation, it’s going to be difficult to get it replaced – possibly along with your vessel itself!

Secure Your Vessel Properly to the Dock

Lastly, think about how you moor your boat. Ropes can be cut far more easily than steel cables or chains. Also, have you thought of removing batteries or shutting down fuel lines, making the boat inoperable until you want to use it? These are just some examples of ways to proactively secure your boat to the dock.

Interested in more boating tips and best practices? If you’re wondering how to prevent boat theft, protect your belongings and safeguard your complete investment, we’re happy to help here at Portside Marine Insurance. Reach out to us today to discuss your boat insurance and theft coverage needs. 

Do I Need Small Boat Insurance?

Do I Need Small Boat Insurance?

Summer is the season to enjoy outdoor adventures, including water-based activities. During these months, many people will take advantage of the hot weather and engage in watersports such as boating, sailing, and canoeing. One popular pastime amongst those participating in watersports is enjoying a day outside by taking their small boat out for a spin. Before buying such a vessel, however, it is imperative to determine whether or not it is covered under your insurance. To help, here are several key factors about small boat insurance to bear in mind.

Why Do You Need Small Boat Insurance? 

No matter how careful we are, unfortunately, accidents can occur. For example, there are risks of theft when it comes to your boat’s equipment, accessories, personal belongings, and onboard sports equipment. Furthermore, there is the possibility of infestation and vandalism. Based on the type of small boat you have, you might face mechanical issues as well, such as your engine not starting. These issues can become costly, depending on the extent of the damage or repairs required.

Small boat insurance can alleviate some financial stress and protect you against unforeseen accidents. You can enjoy your aquatic adventures safely wherever you are on the water. For example, liability coverage will help to protect you if you accidentally cause harm to someone. It will also cover you if you damage their property while operating your  watercraft.

What Does Small Boat Insurance Cover? 

Depending on your coverage, insurance on small boats can vary. Generally, however, the following will be included:   

Emergency Towing

Consider the following scenario: you are travelling on your small boat when suddenly your engine fails. Emergency towing coverage will pay for the costs of towing, fuel delivery, or any emergency services that may be required on the spot. Furthermore, some insurance companies may provide full reimbursement for hotels and temporary stays if you file a claim. 

Agreed Value Coverage

A boat is a significant investment. As a result, if an accident were to occur, many owners would understandably not want to receive less than the value of their property. To protect you against depreciation, we offer agreed value coverage for most types of vessels. This will ensure that in the event of a total loss, your boat will be covered for its full value. As the term implies, this value is mutually agreed upon when signing up. 

Replacement Parts

Replacing old boat parts with new ones can be expensive. Thankfully, your insurance may cover replacement parts without you having to worry about additional payments. 

What Factors will Determine the Price of Insurance? 

There are several factors that influence the final cost of the insurance for your small boat. These include the following, 

Type of Boat

When it comes to the cost of your insurance, the brand, size, and performance capabilities of your vessel should be taken into account. For example, faster boats are more expensive to insure as they are more likely to become damaged during an accident. An inboard engine can cost more than an outboard engine due to the extra maintenance costs associated with them. Used boats may be cheaper than new ones, but they could be more prone to damages if not properly maintained. Remember to inspect the type of boat you’re purchasing before making the investment. 

Your Boating Experience

Education and proper training on how to pilot and maintain your boat can help to keep insurance costs under control. The more experienced you are, especially when it comes to more complex vessels like sailboats, the more confident your insurance provider will be in your capabilities. This is because such a boater would pose a lower risk through demonstrated experience, a solid track record, and sound knowledge of best practices.

Insurance Claim History

If you have been in many boating accidents and made claims on your insurance, your rates will increase. It is common for insurance providers to conduct background checks, and that will include verifying whether you’ve filed claims through other insurance companies in the past. 

It is crucial that you insure your small boat before you take it out on the water. Reduce your financial stress and ensure that you are protected against unforeseen events. 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!  

What to Do During a Boating Accident?

What to Do During a Boating Accident?

When was the last time you had to deal with a boating accident? If you haven’t experienced such a situation, you probably don’t realize how serious these circumstances can be. When boaters get into trouble, they often panic. They might even try to bail out or swim to shore without thinking things through. This is dangerous because it could result in a severe injury or even death. In some cases, boaters who don’t know how to handle emergencies end up sinking their vessels by accident.

It is crucial to understand the measures that must be taken when facing such a situation. Having basic knowledge during a boating accident could save your life and those around you. Your actions and understanding can also help determine whether you can claim compensation or not. In the following article, we have detailed the steps you should take when such an accident occurs. 

What is a Boating Accident? 

Not everyone is aware of what is considered a boating accident. In simple terms, if there is significant property damage, a missing person, or an individual that has been injured, it is considered a boating accident. Here are some scenarios that can be categorized as such: 

  • Colliding with another boat. 
  • Hitting a stationary object 
  • Flooding
  • Sailing into rocks or reefs, causing damage to the bottom of the boat
  • An individual falling overboard

Stop the Boat

In the case of a boating accident, the boat operator must stop as soon as possible to assess the situation. They should immediately check to ensure that they and nobody else onboard is hurt. The operator must inspect the vessel to determine whether damage has been done to the hull that could compromise safety or seaworthiness.

Aid Individuals Who Need Medical Attention 

In a boating accident, as noted above, your top priority should be finding those needing medical attention. Before assessing others, check yourself for injuries. If immediate attention is required, get help as soon as possible. Ensure those around you are wearing life jackets, including yourself. You should also call emergency services, especially if you think there is a risk to life. Please note that it’s important to get examined by a paramedic regardless of whether symptoms visible or not, as you may have delayed signs. It is vital for you to understand the extent of your injuries. To ensure you stay prepared in case of such an emergency, invest in a VHF radio. 

Get Information About the Accident 

After assessing passengers that need medical attention, you will then need to understand the accident. You should collect all available information and details surrounding the event. Gathering eyewitness statements are  in addition to talking to the operators of any nearby boats involved in the accident.

Here are some pieces of information to collect and ask from those involved in the accident. 

  • Ask for names, addresses, and details surrounding the incident from those on the boat. 
  • Get the insurance company name of the boat operators, in addition to the make and model of the vessel.
  • Talk to anyone who may have seen the boat crash, and ask for their names and contact information. 
  • Record the accident’s location, when the accident occurred, and any damages seen. 
  • Document who has been injured on the boat. 
  • Try to take photos of the boat and the damages it may have sustained.
  • Take notes of everything you remember surrounding the boating accident. 

Reach Out to Your Insurance Company and (if Applicable) File a Personal Injury Claim

Collecting information is crucial as it can help if you decide to go to court or an insurance company. When you choose to take either step, evidence must be presented to demonstrate who is at fault before damages can be claimed. When you are in court you will need to prove: 

  • That the operator not at fault was in charge to ensure you were safe. 
  • The operator, if at fault, acted negligently and therefore caused the accident. 
  • Your injuries were caused by the accident. 

Comparative fault laws should also be taken into consideration when filing a personal injury claim. If you were at fault for the accident, your claim could be lowered. Remember, there are some provinces where compensation can be renounced if evidence is presented showing that you provoked 1% of your injuries. Other provinces will allow compensation if another individual or operator is more to blame than you. Furthermore, if you are not the only party to blame, you may still be eligible for insurance coverage. Finally, get an inspection done on your boat, even if you believe the damages are minor. 

Call a Lawyer 

When deciding on taking the boating accident to court, you must call a lawyer. Though a personal injury lawyer can represent you well, they may not have the knowledge as an expert in the field. This is why it is advisable to call a boating accident lawyer who can inform you adequately and tell you what to do when you are involved in such a situation. 

Remember that when you are injured due to boater negligence, you have the right to claim compensation. If you are partially at fault for the accident, a lawyer will help defend your case against the allegations you face. Unfortunately, numerous people will not seek legal advice because they are worried about the cost. There are many lawyers that will offer a free consultation, and some will not charge unless you win. 

Getting into a boating accident can be traumatizing. When faced with such a situation, some steps should be taken for your safety and benefit. One of these essential steps is gathering information to help in claim boating insurance. We know from first-hand experience how essential this is for boaters. To learn more about our policy options or to discuss your coverage regarding your boat, reach out to us or request a quote today. We’re happy to assist!

What it Means to Own a Boat in B.C.

What it Means to Own a Boat in B.C.

British Colombia is dotted with picturesque lakes and rivers, not to mention the Pacific Ocean, with inviting waters just waiting for you to launch your vessel. As the owner, you should ensure that you know how your specific boat works, inside and out. However, if you don’t have a sufficiently informed perspective on what you need when it comes to your watercraft, you could be in hot water. Let’s look at the cost of owning a boat in B.C. more extensively.

Licensing and Registration

A Pleasure Craft Licence is required if you intend to operate a boat in B.C. It is required in all except for certain conditions. You can apply online or via mail with your licence application, which is free and, once received, must be kept in the vessel at all times. You will need to register your boat if you plan on international travel, like docking in the states, which will run you $250. 

The Safety of Passengers

Keeping up-to-date with federal government-required safety gear is vital to not only you as the owner, but also to anyone else who climbs aboard. Personal floatation devices (PFDs) can become costly, ranging from $30 to $80, and must be available for everyone on board at all times. If you are unsure what to do in case of an emergency, a boating course can help. It will likely cost around $50 or so, depending on the provider of the programming, and such education will improve your knowledge of precautions and skills when it comes to your watercraft. You should also schedule routine maintenance checks to ensure it is kept in good, working order, which will vary in cost.

Storage and Winterizing

Depending on the location and size of your boat, winterizing and storage are typically necessary for the off-season to ensure it does not receive any unforeseen damage. You might consider a boat trailer, storage rack, a boathouse or yacht club, or in-water moorage. You should weigh the options available to you with regard to your watercraft, its requirements, and your budget, as some solutions will charge by the foot. 

Boat Insurance

Without boating insurance, you will likely be left paying for part replacements and possible damages out of pocket. This can be costly, which is why owning a boat should also come with a tailored insurance policy for it. Working with a comprehensive insurer, such as our own highly dedicated team at Portside Insurance, allows you to customize your policy to suit your needs and greatly reduces overall costs. 

We have years of experience helping watercraft owners ensure their investment is protected. The true cost of owning a boat in B.C. cannot be decided until you are covered by the right insurer, and perhaps that’s us! Reach out to our team today to explore our policy options. 

 How to Prepare Your Boat for the Water

How to Prepare Your Boat for the Water

Sunny skies and calm waters are a boater’s dream. As spring transitions to summer, you’re likely itching to launch your vessel so you can enjoy it for as much of the season as possible. As a boat owner, you have the responsibility to ensure your watercraft is not only safe for you, but also for passengers who might come aboard. You likely know your vessel inside and out, so performing a routine inspection should be relatively easy to uncover any details that might be overlooked. 

Thinking about getting your boat ready for the season? Here’s how to ensure it is prepared for the water.

Examine the Hull and Propeller

The outside of your boat serves an important purpose. The hull is exposed to most of the water and external elements, so look for cracks or blisters that could lead to leaks or internal damage if not repaired. Find your drain plug, and check it for wear and tear before putting it back in place. Your propeller will get you where you want to go, so it only makes sense that it should be in good working order. Look for any bends or cracks in the metal that could cause performance issues; the last thing you want is to throw a propeller blade! If it seems like it’s good to go, ensure the propeller is secured tightly in place.

Inspect the Boat’s Onboard Systems

Winterization ensures that nothing in your vessel’s onboard systems will freeze and cause damage over the colder months. However, these parts are vital when it comes to getting it ready for warmer weather. You will need to look over your fuel and electrical systems before you launch, for instance. If any hoses or plugs were removed, ensure they are put back in the right place. Check that fittings, clamps, connections, belts, and cables are secure. You should consider turning on your vessel in the driveway while connected to the hose, just to see if your battery needs charging. Also be sure to check that the navigation system, ventilation, and exhaust are all working well. 

Top Up the Fluids

Just like anything motorized, your watercraft needs the right kinds of fluid to keep everything working properly. Check the engine oil, power steering fluid, and coolant. Fill up as needed, and ensure you have some extra on hand if you are a frequent boater, as you will likely need to do this again before the season is over. If you didn’t change your oil before winterizing, now is the time to do so. There’s nothing worse than preparing for a boat day and climbing aboard, only to find an empty tank, so don’t forget to fill up on gas before or on your way to the water.

Give it a Thorough Cleaning

Depending on where you store your vessel in the off-season, it might not need too much cleaning, especially if it was wrapped well or stored inside. Some heavy-duty soap and a pressure washer work great for the hull, and some boat owners choose to apply an oiled coating to further protect it from wear and tear. A soft cloth with a multipurpose cleaner can be used to wipe down the inside, including the cushions and vinyl pieces. You might opt to apply a UV protectant on these surfaces if you often leave your watercraft uncovered and exposed to the sun. 

Stock Your Safety Equipment

In Canada, the laws surrounding safety equipment and boats are governed by the Ministry of Transportation. Specifics depend on the size of your vessel, but most need similar supplies. For motorized crafts up to six feet in length, the mandatory requirements are:

  • A government-approved personal floatation device (PFD) for everyone on board. These should be free of holes and rips. Have everyone try on their life jacket before heading out to ensure they still fit. 
  • A 15-metre long buoyant heaving line.
  • A paddle. 
  • An anchor with 15 metres of rope or chain length.
  • A bailer or hand pump.
  • An air horn or whistle.
  • Some navigation lights if driving during dark or foggy conditions.
  • A class 5BC fire extinguisher. You might also consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in enclosed areas.
  • A waterproof flashlight or flares.

As a boat owner, you should always ensure these items are on board before heading out. You might even consider adding a toolkit and first aid kit to this list, as these essentials can come in handy in the event of an emergency. Beyond these requirements, you should also verify that your fenders and dock lines are intact and capable of lasting you the full season.

Perform a Trailer Check

You might find yourself overlooking this part when you are getting your vessel ready for the season. However, trailer checks are almost as important as examining your watercraft itself. Check the pressure in each of the tires, including the spare, and top off with air as needed. Hook up the trailer to your vehicle and have someone sit in the driver’s seat while you check the turning, brake, and reverse lights. Assess the winch and transom straps for any frays or rips, as these are key to holding the boat in place while it is on the trailer.

Stay Up-to-Date on Your Paperwork

Before setting sail, so to speak, ensure you have taken care of any registration and licensing requirements for your specific area. Although some provinces’ specifications differ, you should be aware of vessel licensing and registration wherever you are taking your watercraft. Working with an experienced marine insurance broker like Portside Insurance means we can help if you have questions regarding the process and policies you need.

All in all, there’s a lot of work that goes into getting your boat water-ready for the upcoming season, but it’s well worth it. You give it the time, care, and attention it needs so that each voyage can be carefree and fun. Part of your peace of mind should come from an active insurance policy. Boat insurance is a crucial part of keeping you, your passengers, and your vessel safe. To learn more about our coverage options, Including seadoos, or to get a quote, please contact us

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!

Contact Portside Insurance

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. This applies to all sorts of different watercrafts, including seadoos too.

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.