Boating in Ontario

Everything you need to know

It was 400 years ago this summer that the spirit of exploration and discovery that brought Samuel de Champlain to Quebec drove him on to venture further on the waters to the west. On July 9th, 1615 he began the great voyage by heading up the Ottawa River, eventually connecting with Lake Nipissing and continuing west along the French River. When he reached Lake Huron, which he called the freshwater sea, he was amazed by the beauty and fertility of the country surrounding him. 

Modern-Day Voyaguers Exploring Lake Temiskaming on Yamaha Waverunners

Champlain returned to Quebec along the same route the next spring, never again to visit what would eventually become the province of Ontario. The thrill of exploring continues to this day, as adventure-seekers of all stripes make their own discoveries on the waterways throughout the province. With approximately 250,000 lakes and 100,000 km of rivers, Ontario has the best freshwater cruising grounds anywhere. If you've never been boating in Ontario before, you've never been boating. And even if you've been boating here for years, there is still always more water to discover, and more pathways to make. Now is the time to discover Ontario. your chance to take the role of the explorer and discover what lies beyond. 

pwc up ottawa river

For every type of boater in the province, we've assembled these comprehensive resources; if you're just starting out, or you think you've explored all there is to see... we're here to show you that there's always more to discover in Ontario.

Boating in Ontario by Region

Ontario has 15 distinct regions, all with their own unique waterways to explore. How many can you say you've visited by water?

Marinas in Ontario by Region

Looking for your next safe port? We've collected a complete list of marinas where you can fuel up, unload, and get navigation maps, grub or a little local knowledge of the waterways. 

Main Waterways of Ontario

Not all waterways are the same; from the Lake of the Woods vast series of islands and channels, to the locks and marine railways of the Trent-Severn, and the wide open spaces of the "freshwater seas" also known as the Great Lakes, we've got your list of real boating destinations right here.

Top Ten Places to Go Powerboat Cruising in Ontario

Bill Jennings' personal take on his favourite places to go boating in the province of Ontario. After a lifetime of exploring by water, Bill shares with us his favourite locations.

Boating Clubs in Ontario

If you're into the social thing, we can help connect you with like-minded boaters. Here's a list of the boating clubs in the province.

Boat Tours and Cruises in Ontario

When you take a boat tour or cruise, you begin to see the possibilities of life on the water - get your feet wet here, in style and comfort.

Renting a Boat in Ontario—What You Need to Know and Who Can Help

If you've never owned a boat before, or are just looking to get back into boating, here's an easy way to discover how fulfilling powerboat cruising can be. Check out the legions of rental outfitters in Ontario.

Getting Your Pleasure Craft Operator Card

If you've always dreamed of getting out on the water, this is the best place to start. Get your Pleasure Craft Operators License and be ready to take the helm!

Finding the Right Boat

If you're ready to start your next series of adventures on the water, it's time to get your own boat. This website matches new and used boats with your needs.

Before You Get Out On the Water—Boat Licensing and Insurance

Ensuring your boat is properly licensed and insured means you can confidently cast off and focus on enjoying every bit of your voyages on Ontario's waterways. This list shares some of the most popular insurance options in Ontario, as well as where to license your boat and any requirements for the registration.

Top Watersport Schools in Ontario

Finally, if you love to get gnarly out on your favourite lake, but need to brush up on your skills, these watersport schools will take your skills to the next level!


Great Stories About Boating In Ontario

There are so many great stories about cruising the waterways of Ontario that we had to share some links to the very best.

[VIDEO] "Come Get Lost, or better yet, come get found" Powerboating on Lake of the Woods

[VIDEO] PWC Riding Between Mattawa and Pembroke

PWC Riding Between Mattawa and Temiskaming Shores

[VIDEO] Ottawa River PWC Touring

PWC Riding in the Thousand Islands Region

PWC Riding in the Muskoka Region

Northeastern Ontario's Hidden Powerboating Haven - Lake Temiskaming

Exploring the Trent-Severn by Water

The Best of Ontario Boating 2014

Georgian Bay and the Trent-Severn - Two of Ontario's Premier Boating Destination

PWC Riding on the North Channel

Kingston is a Must-Ride Sea-Doo Destination

Where to Rent Personal Watercraft in Ontario

Why I Stopped Leaving the Boat At The Cottage and Went Nomadic

PWC Riding from Gravenhurst, Muskoka

Powerboating on Lake Joseph

About Staff Writer, What A Ride

What A Ride covers stories, events and perspectives from the worlds of motorcycling, snowmobiling, ATVing and boating. Motorized adventures, full-tilt, 24/7.

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