There's an old joke that says a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into. There is a lot of maintenance, storage, and mooring fees that go into being a boat owner on top of the original purchase. You might consider charging money to take other people on pleasure cruises. You may even consider sharing costs with a family member and split your use of the boat. Before you do this, you should make sure you know what Canadian law says about renting out your boat so you don't get into legal trouble.
- License or Registration? There is a difference between licensing your boat and registering it. If you plan to have any passengers on your boat who are your family, friends, or unpaid guests, you only need to license your craft. This process is free and can be transferred if you sell your boat. Registration is necessary if you have guests on your boat who are paying you for the ride. You have to choose either a license or registration for you boat, but you will face a fine if you don't have the proper license or registration. These fines can exceed $250.
- Operator Cards. Anyone who operates a marine vehicle, for pleasure or for commercial purposes, must have an operator card. This is true even if the person renting your boat is only driving it for a hours. Without this operator card, you can face fees of over $250. As the owner of a craft, you may also be responsible for other fines issued to your craft. This can include lack of proper life jackets or speeding tickets, even if you were not the operator at the time.
- Insurance. Insurance is not mandated by law in Canada, but it's a good idea if more than one person will be operating your boat. This insurance will cover any damage to your watercraft or to the people on board. Typically, this insurance is based on the operator rather than the boat itself, so make sure any valid operators are on your insurance policy. Overall, it's never a good idea to let people borrow your boat or operate it if you are not present. You should always make sure you know who is in control of your watercraft at all times. Hundreds of deaths occur due to boating accidents each year, and you don't want any injuries on your conscience.
Splitting costs with other boaters or taking money for rides is just one way to offset the costs of owning a boat. Always make sure to check with your province's ministry of transportation to ensure you're following the law. Talk to your local experts, such as Captain's Village Marina, for more information.