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Ontario Boat Insurance

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Boat Insurance in Ontario

A popular and fun summertime activity is boating, even though in most provinces you only use your boat for a few months out of the year, it is still important to have it insured all year round.

Boating is a popular pastime in Ontario, especially in cottage country with the many lakes and small towns to visit and explore! In Ontario, the waterways alone are made up of 250,000 lakes, rivers, canals and bays, providing boaters with the best freshwater cruising and experience of a lifetime! Ontario has one-fifth of the worlds fresh water at its doorstep, making boating and other water activities incredibly popular, allowing you to get out and experience nature and have fun!

No two boats are alike so make sure you speak with one of our Advisors to get the best advice.  We'll provide you up to 10+ quotes from Canada's top boat insurance providers, getting you the coverage you need, for the best price possible.

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Boat Insurance in Ontario

Boat insurance covers you in the event of a loss or damage to your watercraft. It covers most watercraft with motors, including fishing boats, paddle boats, leisure crafts, even yachts (for you high rollers!). For smaller boats, you may find some limited coverage under your homeowner's policy, so it's best to chat with your Surex Advisor about what you're covered for and what you need to add to your policy when you buy a boat.

Ontario does not have a law that requires you to carry insurance on your boat or power watercraft. There might be a time when you have no choice but to purchase insurance. However, marinas in Ontario will require proof of boat insurance before they will allow you to use the marina or store your boat on their property so always best to be covered. 

The amount of boat insurance you will need depends on a number of factors such as the value of the boat, the motor size, the age and how you use it (speed boat vs a pleasure cruiser). For example, if you bought a new high-performance speed boat, you will need more coverage for bodily injury and property damage liability than you would if you had a pleasure cruiser.

The general rule when it comes to figuring out the average boat insurance prices is that you'll pay about 1.5% of the value of your boat in annual rates. So, to insure a boat worth around $50,000, it would cost you only about $750 per year to have it fully insured. Typically it will cost $200-$500 per year.

This is similar to the information you would give out when getting auto insurance, here is the information you would need to provide:

  • The length, type and value of your boat
  • The condition of the boat and the market value
  • How often the boat is used, what it is used for and where you store it
  • The waters you take the boat out on and if you ever charter your boat
  • The experience, loss and claims history of the owners and/or operators
  • Any clubs the owners are members of (Sail Canada, or Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons)

It's best to shop around and compare, and that's exactly what we do for you at Surex! We work with the top insurance companies in Canada to provide you with the best rates for your situation. We can find the right boat insurance in Ontario for you!

Top Boating Destinations in Ontario
  1. The Great Lakes
  2. The 30,000 Islands- Georgian Bay
  3. The 1000 Islands- St. Lawrence River
Best Fishing Lakes in Ontario
  1. Lake Ontario
  2. Lake of the Woods
  3. Lake St. Clair
Best Marinas in Ontario
  1. Harbour West Marina
  2. La Salle Park Marina
  3. Newport Yacht Club

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The three main categories of coverage on a boat insurance policy in Ontario are:

Property coverage: Covers the physical boat and anything permanently attached to it. Amongst other things, this includes the boat motor, fuel tank, oars, and anchors.

Risk coverage: Coverage from theft, capsizing, fire and collision are found here. For other queries, speak to your broker.

Liability insurance coverage: similar to liability auto insurance, liability boat insurance protects you if you injure someone or cause damage to their property.

According to the IBC for a privately owned recreational boat, your insurance options include:

Hull and Machinery: This provides coverage for damages up to the total loss of your boat and attached equipment. (for example the sinking of your boat).

Protection and Indemnity: This provides liability coverage that protects you against property damage and bodily injury. It also provides help with legal and other fees if there is a loss and you are found at fault, the payout would be what was listed in your policy.

Medical Payments: This provides coverage for medical expenses that are incurred due to an accident on your boat.

Boat insurance will provide coverage if your boat if it is stolen, in an accident or damaged by a covered peril (fire or lightning) and will help protect you if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property with your boat.

There are many things you can do to lower the cost of your boat insurance policy:

Choose a higher deductible: You might be able to keep your premium lower if you choose a higher deductible, but by doing so, you could be accepting more risk and covering more of the loss yourself.

Stay claims-free: Obviously one of the ways to keep premiums low is to stay claims-free to be able to maximize available discounts, and here are some suggestions on how you can do that:

What you can do on the water:

  • Never operate your boat while impaired, always navigate and operate your boat safely
  • Don't leave any valuable items onboard
  • Always have safety and emergency equipment ready and available
  • Wear approved lifejackets and PFD's
  • Be familiar with your surroundings and where you boat; make any trip plans and advise a friend
  • Give larger boats extra room
  • Follow markers on the water

What you can do when leaving it in storage:

  • Use locks to immobilize your boat if you store it on a trailer (harder to steal)
  • Use satellite monitoring devices to always know where your boat is
  • Install a security system (if stored inside a private location)
  • If stored outside, make sure it is clear of snow and ice to prevent any damage later on

Another great way is getting a Power Squadron affiliation, this will give a discount. And, if you go with the same company as your home and auto insurance, you can get significant discounts (ie. Intact and Aviva offer bundle discounts for boats.)

And lastly, have you thought about taking some Marine Training? If you are interested in learning the safe navigation of your boat, you may want to consider enrolling in an approved marine training course. It would be beneficial to you in many ways! You'd be more knowledgeable on the water and it could help save you money with your insurance company.

Yes, definitely yes! You always need insurance. And because it is stored elsewhere, does not mean they can be held responsible for any losses. If anything should happen while your boat is in storage, and for the marina to be held accountable, there would have to be proven negligence on their part. For example, if the roof of the marina collapsed and damaged your boat, they have to prove that negligence on their part caused the roof to collapse. (Or was it an accident?). Or, if a raccoon decides to call your boat home, was it the negligence of the marina that let the raccoon in to chew your wires and upholstery? With so many variables to consider, it is much safer to have a year-round boat insurance policy in place. Gives you peace of mind knowing it is protected should anything happen to your boat during the winter months while in storage.

Common winter claims for boats are: vermin damage, theft, vandalism, and storm damage

Sometimes, it depends on the circumstances. For example, many policies will cover a blown engine when it is the manufacturer's defect, not when it is due to normal wear and tear. But, you can always contact your insurance advisor for assistance if this should happen to you and see what is covered under your boat insurance Ontario.

In Ontario, your boat must be anchored or docked and the boat must be equipped with a permanent toilet, cooking facilities and sleeping facilities for the passengers to be able to legally consume alcohol.


In Ontario, the fine and penalties for people drinking and boating are the same for those who drink and drive. You can have your licence suspended for a minimum of one year. And, the province's ignition interlock program can also apply to those convicted of drunk boating.

As stated earlier, in Ontario, if your boat is equipped with a permanent toilet, cooking facilities, and sleeping facilities, boat passengers may legally consume alcohol. However, the boat must be anchored or docked.


According to the government of Canada's guidelines, the minimum requirements are based upon the craft’s length. For a motorized craft no greater than 6 metres (19 feet 8 inches) in length, the following equipment is required:

  • An appropriately sized, Canadian-approved personal flotation device ( PFD ) or lifejacket, for each person on board
  • A buoyant heaving line (15 metres in length)
  • Manual propelling device or anchor with at least 15 metres of rope, cable or chain
  • Bailer or hand pump
  • Sound-signaling device
  • Navigation lights if the craft is used between sunset and sunrise or during periods of reduced visibility, i.e. mist and rain
  • A class 5BC fire extinguisher for any craft equipped with an inboard motor, fixed fuel tank, and/or any fuel-burning cooking, heating or refrigeration units
  • A waterproof flashlight or 3 Canadianapproved flares (type A, B or C flares)
  • A vessel license if your craft is outfitted, even temporarily, with any motor of 10 hp (7.5 kW ) or more. Ensure your vessel is properly marked and you carry a copy of the vessel license.

Did you know that this requirement also applies even when you are renting or borrowing a boat, regardless of the size? (The responsibility is equally shared between the renter and the owner). Remember the equipment must be in good working order, easily accessible and useable by all passengers on board.

No, it is not required by law that you have to carry your proof of insurance with you while on your boat.

For boat insurance Ontario, drivers do not need to be listed on the policy in order to be able to drive your boat. Anyone who is legally eligible to operate a watercraft and has your permission is allowed to operate the boat. If you have specific exceptions they should be listed in your policy to avoid any hassles.

No, there is no difference to your boat insurance. Even though sailboats technically have more components to them such as sails, the mast, the rig etc.....the coverage is still the same for boat insurance Ontario. And obviously, the rules are not the same for racing sailboats as they for racing powerboats, so always check with your insurance advisor for more specific details on that.

The general rule of thumb for calculating the average boat insurance price is to expect to pay about 1.5% of the value of your boat in annual rates. For example, a boat worth $20,000 will cost you about $300 per year to have it fully insured in Ontario. So, for peace of mind, get online and check out our quotes for your boat insurance and have a safe and worry-free summer cruising around the water!

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