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Boat Safety Tips And Laws In Ontario

Boating is a fun and important Canadian summertime activity enjoyed by millions of people in Ontario each year. There are certainly many lakes to choose from, as Ontario has some 250,000 lakes! And while it is great to be excited about spending time with friends and family on the water, it is very important to remind boaters of some critical boating safety tips.

See And Be Seen

Visibility is the key, no matter what type of boat you may be in. Having a clear view of what is in front of you and seeing your surroundings around you is critical. It is just as important to make sure that other boaters see you as well. 

Polarized glasses are good to wear during the day as they diminish the glare and bright reflection off the water’s surface. At night, it is important to have all of your lights turned on and in working order. 

Have a Lifejacket Or A Personal Flotation Device

It is the law in Canada to have a life jacket, or a personal flotation device (PFD) for each person on board water crafts such as: canoes, kayaks, rowboats, as well as all types of powerboats.. Be sure to keep a variety of life jackets for your guests, and make sure that they are worn properly (snug fitting and zipped up).

So, when would a life jacket be worn over a PFD? Consider the following differences between the two:


  • Generally provides better floatation and thermal insulation than a PFD.

  • Designed to turn you on your back so your face doesn’t rest in the water, even if you’re unconscious.

  • Colour selection is limited to red, orange, or yellow for greater visibility.

Personal Floatation Device

  • For recreational use only.

  • More comfortable (lighter and less bulky) than a lifejacket.

  • May be designed for a specific sport.

  • Usually provides less floatation and thermal protection than a lifejacket.

  • Wider variety of colour options (darker colours reduce visibility).

Don’t Drink And Boat

Boating accidents happen just like car accidents, through distraction, dangerous speeds, and unfortunately, by drinking and driving. As an operator of a boat, you should bring all of your good driving habits and apply them while being on the water. This is especially important when it comes to drinking and operating your boat!

Do not take the chance of drinking and operating even the smallest of water crafts, for example kayaks and canoes. Being impaired on the water greatly endangers your life and the life of others around you. 

Have Boat Insurance

Not all home insurance policies cover your boats or other seasonal water crafts that you may use in the summer season. Boat insurance can protect you in the event of a claim made against you (liability), or in the event of theft or damage to your boat. Be sure to check with your broker that you are sufficiently covered under your insurance policy. 

If you would like to insure your boat, or have other questions regarding insuring your watercraft, please contact us today and we will gladly help you.