Lifted Cottage Rental Ban Could Mean More Boating Accidents

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Earlier this month, the Province of Ontario lifted its ban on short-term rentals (rentals lasting 28 days or less), which had affected lodges, cabins, cottages, B&Bs, homes, and condominiums since April 4. The ban, which was implemented to help stop the spread of COVID-19, had been a major concern for property owners that rely on rental incomes. It also put the economies of the province’s beachside and resort communities at risk.

While there is still concern that big-city visitors could import the virus, the economic opportunities for cottage country are too significant to turn down.

“We want people to come down from London, Hamilton and Toronto but we want them to be very cautious,” Malahide Township mayor Dave Mennill told CTV News London.

However, COVID-19 isn’t the only risk associated with out-of-town cottage-goers – every year in Ontario, dozens of people are killed in boating accidents, and many more contact boating accident lawyers to discuss claims for their injuries.

Unsafe boating is discouragingly common in Canada. A recent report from an RCMP division in British Columbia found that 93 per cent of boats were not equipped with necessary safety equipment. Closer to home, in Prince Edward County, Ontario, an OPP marine unit recently issued several warnings to unsafe boaters.

Impaired boating is considered equal to impaired driving under Ontario law. Boaters who are convicted of boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Ontario may have their driver’s licenses suspended. Despite law enforcement’s uncompromising stance, boating accident lawyers still field dozens of calls per year related to boating injuries.

During this year’s Safe Boating Awareness Week (May 16-22), the Canadian Safe Boating Council issued five key messages for Canadian boaters:

  1. Wear a Life Jacket: The vast majority of Canadian drowning victims (80 per cent) were not wearing a life jacket at the time of their accident.
  2. Don’t Boat While Intoxicated: Alcohol and prescription or non-prescription drugs contribute to a large number of Canadian boating accidents. It is never safe to operate a boat while impaired.
  3. Have a Plan and Be Prepared: Plan your water activities before you leave shore, and make sure your boat is equipped with all necessary safety equipment. Make sure you know what kind of weather you will face and ensure your fuel tank is full.
  4. Take a Boating Course: There are a number of online courses to get you started, and numerous on-water programs to ensure you’re prepared for the open water.
  5. Beware of Cold Water: Cold water can turn a minor spill into a major problem. Be extra cautious if you’re boating during the winter, spring, or fall.

Boating is a favourite pastime for thousands of Canadians, and the new availability of short-term cottage rentals will mean more boats on Ontario’s waterways. Please be safe this summer.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of experienced boating accident lawyers will get you the help you need.

Greg Neinstein, B.A. LLB., is the Managing Partner at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers LLP. His practice focuses on serious injury and complex insurance claims, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, long-term disability claims and insurance claims. Greg has extensive mediation and trial experience and has a reputation among his colleagues as a skillful negotiator.
Greg Neinstein
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