Recreational Boating FAQs

Which type of boat is right for me?

One of the terrific things about boating is that there are boats designed for different activities. Multi-purpose boating is a common choice for many boaters. In this case, boaters wish to buy a boat which will serve as a fishing, skiing and picnic boat.

Performing a boat comparison can help to narrow down your search. Do you enjoy fishing on the local waterways? Are you looking for a boat to use for waterskiing, wakeboarding and other exciting water sports? Are you looking for a craft designed for family boating? Do you want a boat for a little of everything? Consult our Boat Selector tool to choose the boat that is right for you. This boat buyer guide can help you choose the ideal boat for your specific needs.

How big of a boat will I need?

The size of boat you choose depends on how many people will be boating with you and where you plan on boating. Make sure you anticipate these things accurately to ensure boater safety each time you’re under way. Every new boat has a "capacity plate" that tells you how many people you can safely have on board. If your choice comes down to a question of 2–4 feet in size, buy more if your budget allows. Doing this will allow you to keep your boat longer as your needs change. Choose a boat that is no more than 26-feet long if you plan on trailering to different waterways and marinas. Consult our Boat Selector tool to choose the boat that is right for you.

What about power needs?

When deciding what engine you will need on your boat, it’s best to consider what you will be using your boat for. Waterskiers will need more power, where fishing buddies will probably use less. Today’s buyer can also choose from new-tech engines that are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. It’s best to compare boats with different engine sizes and consult a boat buying resource, like the Boat Selector tool, to make the best choice.

What will it cost?

Buying a boat doesn’t have to be painful — there’s a boat for every budget. Boat owners are often surprised that their dream boat cost less than they’d expected! New boats and pre-owned boats bought at a reputable dealership can be financed, so you can take advantage of monthly payments. As with cars, pre-owned boats typically cost less than a similar new model. Consult the boat buyer guide on our web site for a general overview of the costs associated with owning and operating a boat.

Should I buy new or used?

We suggest that you shop new first. You will gain insight into which type of boat is best for you and the market price. You can then do a boat comparison on similar pre-owned models. With this information, you can zero in on your perfect boat!

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If I buy used, how do I know the boat is in good condition?

Get a qualified marine surveyor’s inspection. Surveyors will check all systems, as well as the hull structure and can ensure that boat maintenance has been upheld. Call several insurance companies in your area for recommended surveyors.

What is the best time of year to buy?

The best time is when you are ready! You can find a great deal on a boat at any time of year. Boat shows are great places to shop — you can compare boats from a wide variety of brands and dealers, and can often take advantage of special show pricing and financing offers. Just be sure you’ve done some homework and identified the right type of boat for your needs before you buy.

How do you find a good dealer?

Shop around a little... boat shows are also ideal for finding the dealer that suits you best. Choose a dealer who is convenient to where you’ll be using your boat. The dealer who goes out of his/her way to get you on the water, knowing you are qualified and ready to buy, should get high marks.

Where can I learn the waterway rules?

Many organizations offer boating courses in almost every community. For a complete list of accredited organizations, visit Transport Canada’s list of Boating Safety Course Providers.

Do I need a licence to operate a boat?

The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations will require all operators of pleasure craft fitted with a motor and used for recreational purposes to have proof of competency. These requirements are being phased in. All operators born after April 1, 1983 and all operators of craft under 4 metres in length must now have proof of competency. By September 15, 2009, all operators will be required to have proof of competency.

What is a good, simple boat for a family who wants to ski and fish?

Check out bowriders, deck boats, or something of that nature. Family boating needs can be addressed when using our Boat Selector tool to learn the difference between various boat types.

How do you go boating with two small children?

You’ll need the help of an additional qualified adult. If you are at the helm, you’ll need someone to watch the children. It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to work together as a crew. Consider practising a “baby overboard” drill. Bring a doll to the boat, put a life jacket on it as you would the baby, throw it overboard and practise rescuing it until everyone feels comfortable with the procedure. Make sure to always establish boating safety rules with the children prior to hitting the water!

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