Three kids jumping off back of boat into water.

May 20, 2015

Boating insurance, safety and licenses

1 min read


The first day of boating season is always an exciting time after enduring another long winter, but in your rush to the water don’t overlook safety measures and protecting yourself with boating insurance. The key to safe boating is education and experience, and that is why since 2009, Canadian boaters, of all ages, must be licensed to operate a power pleasure craft. Not only is operational safety critical, but you also need financial security provided by boating insurance in the event of an accident, property damage or injury.

Pleasure craft operator card (PCOC)

With more than 400,000 lakes in Canada, the provincial waterways still get crowded as Canada’s estimated two–million-boat owners flock to the nearest shore as soon as the conditions look inviting. Ensuring that they will be able to navigate those crowded waterways, while adhering to all safety protocols, is the reason why Canada mandates proof that operators of all ages fully understand the rules and regulations of the water.

The Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is good for life with no annual fees and is recognized in every province. For those wishing to crest some swells, you will need to first surf the Internet in search of a certified course that is accepted by Ottawa. Having a PCOC means that you can boat with confidence on the many lakes, rivers, and streams of Ontario, or elsewhere in Canada.

Ensure you have adequate insurance

Whether you are tooling about in a powerboat or a pontoon boat, once you un-tether from land, you are at the mercy of the elements and the behaviour of other boaters, so having a comprehensive marine insurance policy guarantees an added level of security. No one expects to hit a rock, capsize, or be hit by another boat but unfortunate accidents do happen. Knowing that you have financial coverage in case the worst happens will give you the peace of mind you need to fully enjoy your days on the water.

In order to obtain boating insurance, you will need to present proof that you are competent to operate a boat. This is easily done by providing your insurance broker with your PCOC, as well as presenting your pleasure craft license, which is needed if your motor can churn out more than 10 horsepower.

Enjoy the summer safely

The summer season is all about fun on the water, and keeping it fun means operating your boat responsibly, proven by your PCOC card, and providing life vests for everyone on your boat. Then you can protect yourself, your family and your guests with a boating insurance policy appropriate for your needs.


If you have any questions or would like a no obligation quote, the expert insurance brokers at Mitch would be pleased to help you. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-731-2228 or email us at

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Mitch Team

The articles you'll find on the Mitch blog are all the result of a team effort, contributed to by one or more of our RIBO licensed insurance brokers and/or other Ontario insurance experts. Contributors to our blog include:

  • Adam Mitchell (RIBO) - President and CEO of Mitch Insurance Brokers
  • Nick Kidd (RIBO) - Chief innovation officer at Mitch, & director of business insurance
  • Alex Gemmiti (BSc, CIP, RIBO) - Service team lead at Mitch Insurance
  • Jesica Ryzynski (RIBO) - Insurance broker, claims specialist, and account manager at Mitch Insurance

Learn more about the Mitch Team

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