All about Boater Assist

Life buoy

It’s back! Boating Ontario’s Boater Assist—launched as a pilot program in July 2011—is again available in 2013. Run out of gas? Having engine or battery failure? Need a tow? If you’re a Boater Assist member, simply dial the program’s toll-free call centre, and help will be dispatched from the nearest service centre. “We’re similar to CAA,” says Boating Ontario’s Cyndi Hodgson, “but on the water.”

Great for

Boating all summer: 
Boater Assist is available from mid-May to late October, seven days a week, during daylight hours.
Cottagers in much of Ontario: 
Service has grown from the four pilot regions in 2011, and is “constantly expanding,” says Hodgson.
Responsible boaters: Members are allowed a limited number of service calls, so it’s no excuse to ditch regular boat maintenance. Boater Assist is not your mother!
Scoring deals and discounts: 
Members get lower rates on comprehensive boat insurance, plus savings on other products and services.

Not great for

Landlocked lakes in remote locations: 
Boater Assist can only assist you by boat.
Cottagers who can’t communicate: 
With no cellphone (or no service), you’ll need a shortwave or VHF radio to call the Coast Guard, who can patch you through to Boater Assist.
A life-threatening emergency: 
If the boat is on fire, yeesh, call 911.

Package and price info

Basic membership: 
Single boat and any operator with a valid pleasure craft operators card: $75 
for 12 months, with two service 
calls or tows per year.
Family membership: 
Two boats and any operator with a valid pleasure craft operators card: 
$125 for 12 months, with three 
service calls or tows per year.

To become a member, register at boaterassist.com.