If you've ever experienced a day out on the water with your family or friends, you most likely came away thinking: I would love to own a boat! With 250,000 lakes to choose from, Ontario is the largest freshwater boating playground. We love boating in this province, and there are many types of boating to choose from.
But even if you don’t own a boat, there are other ways to get you out on the water and provide you with the training you need to ensure you have a great on-water experience.
Join a membership-based boat club
A new format that is starting to pop up in Ontario is boat clubs that offer a membership-based program providing access to a selection of boats for their members to enjoy. Boat ownership is a commitment that doesn’t always fit in many people’s busy lifestyles. Boat clubs provide a gateway that can move first-time boaters farther into the on-water experience and towards boat ownership.
Boating clubs put members on a boat and professionally manage the entire process from stem to stern. The club typically provides brand-new well-appointed boats and takes care of most of the work (such as fueling, pump-out, maintenance, insurance, etc.) which allows members to focus on learning the ropes and enjoying the boating lifestyle. Members pre-schedule use of the boat. Another added bonus is they offer on-water instruction, making this a perfect fit if you are new to boating.
Boat Clubs now active in Ontario:
Carefree Boat Club in Lefroy, ON (45 minutes north of Toronto) provides you access to waters of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchching.
Freedom Boat Club in Toronto provides you access to the waters of Lake Ontario.
- Diverse Rentals, Penetanguishene, Ontario
- Lac Seul Floating Lodges, Hudson, Ontario
- Ontario Wilderness Houseboat Rentals, Morson, Ontario
- Happy Day Houseboat Rentals, Bobcaygeon, Ontario
- Ontario Powersports Rentals Ltd., Barrie, Ontario
- Egan Houseboat Rentals, Omemee, Ontario
- Big Rideau Lake Boat Rentals, Portland, Ontario
- Peck’s Marina, Lansdowne, Ontario
- Gilbert Marine, Brockville, Ontario
- Ride on Rentals, Wasaga Beach, Ontario
- Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Ontario
- Blue Beacon Marina Rent-A-Boat, Orillia, Ontario
- Boat Rentals Canada, Gravenhurst, ON
Click here for a more in-depth look at the options on the list above.
New to boating?
Starting a new activity often means learning new skills and boating is no exception. Luckily there are plenty of resources available to move you from beginner to captain. Programs like STARTBoating cover some of the things you need to know before you go out onto the water: how to plan your trip, what to take with you, and how to act and react to situations once you are out there. The program is available in six languages and includes videos and instruction.
Do I need a Boat License in Ontario?
In short, yes. Even if you are running a boat with a motor in it, you need to have a boating license. There are no two ways about it. It takes a little time and costs a bit, but the advantages are well worth it! Any of the three Ontario boating license course providers listed below will offer training, including an Ontario boat license practice test, and will walk you through the process. It's actually very easy to do!
Where to get a boating license in Ontario?