62 Commonwealth Road, Barrie, Ontario, L4M OC9, (705) 728-7437, FAX (705) 730-0518



Proof of Competency...

Are you aware that you need a licence to operate any boat (including jet-skis) less than 4 metres (13.2 feet) in length?  Most people are now aware of the boat licence, but many small vessel operators have not yet fulfilled this requirement.

The new boat operator’s regulations came into effect on April 1, 1999.  From that date, additional regulations were placed on persons operating pleasure craft fitted with a motor.  What are these regulations?

1) If you were born after March 31, 1983, you must have proof of operator competency from September 15, 1999.  You need your 'boat licence' in order to operate any vessel with a motor, regardless of size.

2) If you operate a power boat of less than 4 metres (13.2 feet) at the waterline (including personal watercraft), you must have proof of competency from September 15, 2002, regardless of your age.

3) All other power boat operators must have proof of competency by September 15, 2009.

4) From April 1, 1999, a person under 12 years of age must be directly supervised (by a person 16 years old or older) to operate a vessel over 10 horsepower.  Also, a person over age 12 but under 16 must be directly supervised (by a person 16 years old or older) to operate a vessel over 40 horsepower.

5) In addition, you must be at least 16 years of age to operate a Personal Watercraft.


What happens to you if you fail to have this proof of competency?  Police are busy checking for operator competency on the waterways, and issuing hefty fines of up to $250.00.  Police can also impound the vessel until proof of competency is provided.  Perhaps more importantly, insurance companies have the right to deny any claim that you may have while operating a vessel without proof of competency, if required.  The Competency of Operators of Pleasure Craft Regulations are legal regulations.  Operating a boat without a licence (if required) is much like driving a car without a licence.  The Regulations also state that no owner of a pleasure craft shall allow a person to operate the vessel unless that person has proof of competency and proof of age on board--so clearly there are increased duties of boat owners as well as operators.


In November 2009, Michael Downer became a member of the International Association of Marine Investigators, Inc. (IAMI).  The IAMI is a volunteer-based organization based in Oregon USA, dedicated to reducing marine insurance fraud.  This organization provides marine-based seminars, as well as a means for members (marine surveyors and appraisers, insurance adjusters, law enforcement professionals and others) for share information on many marine topics.


In June 2008, Michael Downer was re-elected Chair of the Insurance Institute of Canada—Georgian Bay Chapter, for a one-year term position.  He held this position from June 2006.  From June 1999 through June 2006, Michael Downer served as Education Co-ordinator and Vice Chair Academic for the Georgian Bay Chapter of the Insurance Institute of Ontario, having previously served the Chapter as Treasurer.

Since 1994, Michael has instructed many Insurance Institute of Canada Associateship/CIP courses, including C11 Principles and Practice of Insurance, C13 Insurance Against Liability, C43 Specialty Lines and C35 Insurance Against Crime. Michael is active in teaching IIC courses throughout the year and proctoring IIC exams.  In 2004, the Insurance Institute of Ontario presented Michael with an 'Outstanding Instructor' award.  Periodically, Marine Insurance Services puts on Marine Seminars at our offices and other locations.  Michael Downer is the current Past-Chairman of the Insurance Institute of Ontario, Georgian Bay Chapter.

Marine Insurance Services has copies of Michael Downer's Summary Notes for Insurance Institute of Canada Associateship courses--available at no charge! These courses include C11 Principles and Practice of Insurance, C13 Insurance Against Liability, C35 Insurance Against Crime, C42 Principles and Practice of Marine Insurance, C43 Specialty Lines, C39 Fraud Awareness and Prevention, and C32 Property Damage Appraisal.  These notes are now also posted on the Internet in their entirety in internet (HTML) format, and are available to anyone who wishes to use them.  You can download these notes by going to our Courses section.

Copies of The Associate Board Game, developed by our offices, are currently available for IIC Instructors for loan, with questions for several IIC courses! The Insurance Institute of Canada produced this game, and sent copies to every Institute chapter across Canada. Please contact us for more information about any of these free offers.

A prototype of The Associate Board Game

Michael B. Downer, A.A., B.Sc., C.I.P., President
Marine Insurance Services E-Mail

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