Many inexperienced boaters lack proper insurance coverage
Families seeking safer pass times during the pandemic resulted in a surge in boat sales in Canada over the last two years, but the trend also led to a rise in the number of inexperienced boaters lacking proper insurance.
A survey conducted last year revealed that boat dealers in the province saw a 26% spike in sales in 2020 compared to 2019. Boat rentals and leases also climbed by 17%.
So while young families, first-time boaters and former boaters returning to the activity drove the increased demand, not all of them have the insurance coverage to protect them in case of accidents.
“In Ontario, there is currently no law that requires you to carry insurance on your boat,” Nainesh Kotak, founder of Kotak Personal Injury Law, told the Toronto Sun. “Typically, boating accidents may be caused by driver error, alcohol, travelling at high speeds, or nighttime boating, to name a few. Injuries can be quite severe as a result, so having sufficient boating insurance is imperative.”
The most common boating accidents include collisions, flooding and swamping, grounding, and skier mishaps.
“There are similarities between operating a vehicle and a boat, such as licensing and safety regulations, as well as laws regarding movement and traffic,” said Kotak. “However, boating accident victims do not have some of the same protections as a motor vehicle accident victim.”
Kotak added that boaters should be aware that accident victims cannot claim no-fault benefits under the province’s statutory benefits schedule.
“If you are involved in an accident and the other boater was at fault, but they do not have boat insurance, you would need to have uninsured/underinsured boaters’ coverage to cover you or your family members if injured,” he said. “Even with this coverage, you should review to ensure you are properly protected in case of an accident.”