Liability for Marine Accidents

Navigating the waters of Canada is a beloved pastime for many pleasure craft owners. However, with this enjoyment comes the responsibility of understanding and adhering to legal liability requirements. Recent legislative changes have made it crucial for boat owners to stay informed and adequately insured. Here’s a look at the significant updates and why having sufficient liability coverage is essential.

Bill C-47 Increases Limits of Liability for Marine Accidents

On June 22nd, 2023, Bill C-47 received Royal Assent, introducing critical changes to the Marine Liability Act. This legislation, part of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023, increases the limits of liability for marine accidents. Transport Canada has provided a summary of these changes, which are crucial for boat owners to understand.

Key Changes in Liability Limits

**Increased Maximum Liability**
The maximum liability for certain claims involving ships of less than 300 gross tonnage (including pleasure craft) has increased from $1 million for loss of life and personal injury to $1.5 million. For property damage, the limit has increased from $500,000 to $750,000.

Implications for Pleasure Craft Owners

Of significant importance to pleasure craft owners are the increased limitation of liability amounts. Traditionally, a typical insurance policy provided $2 million of coverage, which was sufficient to cover personal injury and property damage losses. However, with the new legislation increasing the limits to $1.5 million for personal injury and $750,000 for property damage, the needed coverage has risen to $2.25 million. When adding interest and court costs, it is now advisable to have $3 million of coverage for liability.

Why You Need Adequate Liability Coverage

Adequate liability coverage is essential for protecting yourself against potential financial ruin in the event of a serious accident. The increased liability limits underscore the importance of having comprehensive insurance to cover personal injury, property damage, legal fees, and other related costs. Without sufficient coverage, boat owners could face significant out-of-pocket expenses, jeopardizing their financial stability.

Learn more:

Marine Insurance Act

Norton Rose Fulbright – Canadian Maritime law: Limits of liability increased – should your insurance follow?


Don’t leave your financial future to chance. Ensure you have the necessary liability coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones while navigating the waters of Canada or the USA. Visit Gallagher Skippers’ Plan to learn more about our services and to get a quote today. Trust Gallagher Skippers’ Plan, the exclusive insurer for Sail Canada, to keep your boat safe, so you can enjoy every moment on the water.

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or call 1.800.661.7211

Happy and safe boating!

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