two people on a sailboat in the water

May 22, 2014

Boat insurance and other watercraft

2 min read


Whether you tour the lake in a small runabout, race around in a motorboat or prefer the quiet power of a sailboat, boat insurance brings added security to fun on the water. Personal watercraft, with brand names such as Jet Ski or Sea-Doo are very popular too and should definitely be covered by a marine insurance policy.

Wide variety of marine insurance

There are many types of boat insurance available in order to accommodate just about everything you might operate on the water. The most commonly owned watercraft include:

  • Power Cruisers, Pontoon Boats also called Party Boats, Water-Skiing Boats, Recreational Fishing Boats, High Performance Motorboats, Sailboats large and small, Large Yachts, Personal Watercraft, and Small Runabouts (no boat is too small!)

If you don’t see the type of boat you own listed here, simply ask about it because there are appropriate policies designed for every watercraft.

Key components and options for marine insurance

For most boats and other watercraft you may own, the main components of marine insurance to consider are:

  • Hull and machinery coverage, including outboard motors if applicable, if damaged by various perils and hitting underwater objects
  • Trailers – an optional coverage
  • Liability coverage – for damage or injuries caused, spills, pollution, etc.
  • Coverage for Agreed Value or Actual Cash Value – which is best for you?
  • Personal belongings or other equipment not attached to the boat
  • Damage from animals, insects and rodents
  • Emergency expenses if towing is needed, etc.
  • Some small boats can be added to your homeowner’s policy but this may not provide adequate coverage for some of the points mentioned above. Also if a claim happens for your boat, be aware this could have a negative impact on the claims-free status of your homeowner’s policy.

If you have any other concerns, mention them to an insurance professional so they can investigate the details for you.

Requirements for insuring and/or operating a boat

In order to secure marine insurance, you will need to provide some type of ‘proof of competency’ regarding safe operation of boats, and you may be asked for your pleasure craft license number too.

  1. Proof of competency: In Ontario, and in fact the whole country, everyone who operates a power-driven boat needs proof of competency, which shows they understand the rules on the water and how to safely operate a boat. The most common proof is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC), which you can get by passing an accredited boating safety test.
  2. Pleasure craft license: Any pleasure craft powered by a motor over 10 hp (7.5 kW) must have a valid pleasure craft license. It allows search and rescue personnel and other agencies to quickly identify your boat in the event of an emergency. The license is free and applications are available online at Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety or at Service Canada Centres.

Enjoy boating safely and save money too

Safety FirstKeep in mind these important points so everyone stays safe:

  • Motorboats: Anyone under 16 years of age may not operate boats with motors over certain horsepower without direct supervision by someone older.
  • Personal watercraft (PWC): Youth under 16 years of age may not operate a PWC under any circumstances.
  • Personal floatation devices (PFD): Choosing the right life jacket or PFD for adults and children is essential to keep everyone onboard safe. But here’s the catch – no matter what life-saving device you choose, it won’t work if you don’t wear it.
  • Discounts available: Many insurers offer discounts when you successfully complete an approved boating safety course.


Our insurance brokers would be happy to answer your questions and provide a no-obligation quote. Call us at 1-800-731-2228 or email us at

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