Boat in or out cottage rental inclusions
Periodically we should revisit the subject of motorized watercraft and cottage rentals – are they included or not? This is one discussion topic that seems to generate an enormous amount of controversy. Even today I still see ads for cottages where renters are demanding a boat is included. The issue of liability and licensing, insurance and coverage declaration is often overlooked or kept on the “down low” during the cottage rental process. Many renters do not care to get into the details of such discussions, or simply have no idea for example, in the province of Ontario only licensed businesses are permitted to “rent out” motorized watercraft to consumers with proper boater licenses.
Why is this issue so complicated? Why is it so hard? Why can’t owners of cottage rentals just do whatever they want with their property and the possessions on it? Why should I as a renter not ask for the most that my money can buy when I put more than a thousand dollars for a week in the Muskoka’s? The cottage is on a lake and they have a motor boat and the whole reason a renter would rent that cottage is because it’s on a lake and there’s fish….so why can’t I, the renter just borrow the boat?
Imagine you have a large home with a bunch of empty rooms you rent out to a few people. Some are more permanent and some are temporary contract workers that need a week or two here or there. One of those temporary workers has a car that won’t start and he asks you to borrow yours to take it to the job site so he can do his job. If he doesn’t go he doesn’t get paid which means he doesn’t earn enough money to pay you rent. So you decide, okay I’ll lend him my car for the day and ask him to get his fixed fast. You lend him the car and he gets into a car accident. Who is responsible in this instance for the car, the damage and the accident? Here’s where it gets complicated. Your border does not have a driver’s license in the province of Ontario. He also doesn’t have insurance for driving. His last listed address is in another province. So now what? You’re the owner, you’re the one who has insurance on the vehicle and you gave your border consent to use your car. Guess what… You’re liable. The border may or may not have caused the accident – however, when you gave him access to a motorised vehicle without doing your due diligence and looking up the laws – you really put yourself in a huge mess. Oh sure you can try and sue him….good luck finding him – bet he’s already skipped out on his rent and his mess.
Now transfer that over to the waterways – where there are little or no traffic lights, a lot of fast moving motorised equipment and little or no governance. You have a group of fishermen renting your cottage and they want to take your boat out onto the water. They all know how to use it, yet not one of them has a boater’s license, and only one of them has proper auto insurance, and they brought a keg of beer. Do you lend out your boat? Are you starting to get the picture?
Whether it’s the waterways or the roads, when it comes to driving, lending people something that could potentially kill or damage property requires scrutiny, proper licensing and expert governance. Businesses that are in the business to rent out these types of equipment generally have a good idea into the investment required to make it profitable. Favors may seem like a nice thing to do – but in the end if something goes wrong – you are the one that will be paying the very large price. So do us all cottage rental owners a huge favor – rent your cottage and keep your motorized boats and fun crafts locked up. If it were legal, it wouldn’t need to be on the “down low” and “our little secret”.
Image Source: boatinglifecanada via Instagram