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Ontario Underwater Council




Mission: to promote the sport of scuba diving in Ontario through safety, advocacy,
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OUC'S Insurance - Frequently Asked Questions


To assist our clubs in understanding the implementation of our negotiated insurance policy, we are providing this page to answer questions that have been raised. If you haven't been able to find your question answered here, please feel free to contact our insurance coordinator.

To see the answer to a question, click on the question or scroll down.


  1. What if a question about OUC's Insurance Policy is not answered on this FAQ page?
  2. Why does my Scuba Club need Liability Insurance?
  3. Why should my Scuba Club get OUC's Liability Insurance?
  4. Are all OUC clubs required to enroll in the OUC Insurance Policy?
  5. How much does OUC receive from the Insurance fees?

  6. Why are OUC's annual Club fees broken up into "Membership" and "Insurance" amounts?
  7. Why do coverages in this policy change from time to time?
  8. When do memberships in the OUC need to be renewed in order to stay covered by the policy?
  9. My Club is an OUC-Member-Training Club. Are our students covered under the terms of the policy?
  10. If I am an OUC Club member in good standing, but not a certified diver, am I still covered under the policy?

  11. We would like to have a non OUC insured diver join us on a sanctioned dive. Is this possible?
  12. What is the Guest Diver Program and how does it apply to the previous question?
  13. As members of an OUC Insured Member Club, what requirements have to be met when diving in order to be covered under the terms of the policy?
  14. Is my OUC membership card proof of Liability Insurance Coverage?
  15. As a member of an OUC Insured Member Club am I still covered when diving with another OUC Member Club?

  16. I'm a member of an OUC-Member Club and my club sometimes uses my boat for Club-Sanctioned dives, am I covered by the policy?
  17. What OUC Membership Categories are covered by provisions of the OUC Liability policy?
  18. What if my Club needs Liability Insurance for a non-diving activity not listed on the "Outline" document?
  19. I belong to a Club that primarily does Technical Diving. We also have a very active Training Program that goes from Open Water to Cave Diver. How would the OUC's Liability Policy cover us?
  20. Does the OUC liability policy cover us while we're diving down south?

  21. If I'm a member of an OUC-member club and we go diving, and I accidentally drop my tank on another member's foot, and he sues me, am I covered under the OUC Liability policy?
  22. I sit on the Executive of an OUC-member Club. If one of our members gets injured on a dive weekend, and sues me and our Club, am I and the Club covered?
  23. My Club and I belong to the OUC. If we charter a boat and accidentally cause a lot of property damage to it and the Captain of the boat sues us, will the Liability Policy cover us?
  24. If we go on an OUC Club-sanctioned dive and one of our members is personally injured as a result of negligence on the part of the Charter Boat Operator, and the injured member sues the Charter Boat Operator (for negligence) and the Club (for choosing the Charter Boat Operator), does the OUC Liability Policy provide coverage?
  25. Is our Dive Master allowed to dive during our Club-Sanctioned-Dive as well?

  26. What do we do if we don't have a certified Dive Master or Safety Diver?
  27. I belong to one of Ontario's 5 Military Scuba Clubs. We like what OUC is doing for diving in Ontario and would like to join but believe we are already covered by a Canadian Forces Insurance Policy. What do you suggest?
  28. How many (or few) members does it take to be recognized as a Club?
  29. How many years must we archive Club Dive Logs and Training Records for?
  30. Can I purchase OUC's Liability Insurance Policy separately without becoming a Club member?

  31. I am a US citizen and live in the States but have joined an OUC Member Club. If I go diving with them on one of their Club-Sanctioned events, are we all still covered?
  32. My Club hosts several Discover Scuba sessions a year to help fill our courses. Are all the participants and staff covered by the Policy for this?
  33. Should a member accidentally violate the rules, e.g., drop below 130' or fall into a decompression profile, are they still covered by the insurance policy?
  34. What if my Club can't meet all the OUC Requirements?
  35. Do non-member volunteers volunteering at an OUC Member Club sanctioned non-diving event have to enrol in the OUC's Guest Diver Program?

  36. Can non-member guest divers enrol in the OUC Guest Diver Program on the day of the dive?
  37. My Club allows non-member bubble watchers to ride along on charters. Would they be required to enrol in the OUC Guest Diver Program in order for OUC's Liability Insurance to be in force?
  38. Yes, but are the non-member bubble-watchers covered under the policy as well?
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ANSWERS



What if a question about OUC's Insurance Policy is not answered on this FAQ page?

If you can't find an answer to your question on this page, you can either contact the OUC office directly via telephone at: (416) 426-7033 or via e-mail at: insurance@underwatercouncil.com. We try to answer all questions within 72 hours.

Why does my Scuba Club need Liability Insurance?

"Because no matter how careful you are, accidents happen. And, you can be sued by anyone who claims injury or damages resulting from your operations and activities. Even if you are eventually found to be blameless, litigation expenses could severely strain your resources. But liability insurance will defend you and pay for damages that may be awarded against you." Source: Pearson-Dunn Policy Outline. Besides this, nowadays a municipality will not even rent your club a pool without you providing them proof of liability insurance coverage. Provincial Parks, Certifying Agencies, and Waterway Authorities are just a few examples of the kinds of entities increasingly requiring proof of Liability Insurance.

Why should my Scuba Club get OUC's Liability Insurance?

The 3 main reasons your Club should consider getting OUC Liability Insurance are 1) Coverage 2) Service, and 3) Cost. Coverage on OUC's Liability Policy is $3M per occurrence, and allows for multiple occurrences. Policy Service and turnaround time is uniformly good, thanks to a shared servicing arrangement betwwen the OUC and our Insurers.

Are all OUC clubs required to enroll in the OUC Insurance Policy?

No, the OUC Insurance Policy is a valuable benefit which the OUC has negotiated for it's member clubs. Only members of those clubs enrolling in this policy are able to receive this opportunity. Individual (un-affiliated) members, members of non-enrolled clubs and commercial members are not insured. This benefit may be a strong tool for your club to recruit and maintain membership.

How much does OUC receive from the Insurance fees?

The OUC Insurance Policy is maintained as a non-profit benefit. The OUC negotiates the policy with the insurer based on an expected annual membership. The policy cost is then divided up on that basis. If the OUC membership fluctuates, there may be a gain or loss in the Insurance account which is reserved for future years. None of the funds will be used by the OUC for any other purpose.

Why are OUC's annual Club fees broken up into "Membership" and "Insurance" amounts? Why don't you just charge an all-inclusive price and make it easy for everyone?

Two (2) reasons.
1. Clubs are not required to enroll in the insurance policy.
2. OUC requires membership approval of any changes to membership fees.
Such approval can typically only be secured at the AGM, and then only for the following year.
Because OUC has little to no control over what happens in the Insurance field, fees need to be kept separate.

Why do coverages in this policy change from time to time?

OUC's Liability Insurance Policy for Clubs is renegotiated every year. The more Clubs join OUC, the more buying power we have and the stronger our negotiating position becomes. Every year OUC listens very carefully to the insurance needs identified by our Member Clubs and not-yet-Member Clubs and incorporates as many of the identified needs into the new policy as we can afford.

When do memberships in the OUC need to be renewed in order to stay covered by the policy?

The OUC Club membership year runs from January 1st of this year to January 1st of next year. Therefore if you want your Club and its members to be covered, renew your Club before January 1st of this year. Clubs that are not members in good standing will not be covered by the Policy.

My Club is an OUC-Member-Training Club. Are our students covered under the terms of the policy?

All students must be members of the OUC in order to be covered by the policy. If the club does not register the students, the instructors would not be covered as the trainng event would not be sanctioned.

If I am an OUC Club member in good standing, but not a certified diver, am I still covered under the policy?

Provided that your club has enrolled in the OUC Insurance Policy, Yes, you are, for all Club-sanctioned activities.

What if our OUC-member Club can only get 9 OUC Club members to go on a Dive Charter boat that seats 10, and we want to bring a not-yet-OUC member certified diver diving with us?

The OUC's Liability Policy as it relates to (non-training) Recreational Diving only provides coverage if all participants of the Club-Sanctioned Dive are members of an OUC-Member Club. Recognizing that it is a significant benefit to Clubs to be able to invite new divers to their club (for membership growth, flexibility in filling charters, etc.) there are 2 options for insured clubs.

1. A non-member may dive under his/her own recognizance and not within the supervision of the sanctioned group. Please see the Policy Document for the specific requirements relating to participation and paperwork.

2. If the non-member wishes to be covered by the policy, and have the benefit of the insurance, (this is also easier for the club to track), s/he may enroll in OUC's Guest Diver Program. Guest Divers must follow all the same rules as other OUC Member Club Member divers.

What is the Guest Diver Program and how does it apply to the previous question?

As your Guest, the Diver must fill out an OUC Club Membership application form and hand it in to you along with a $22.00 OUC Club Membership fee. At that instant, the Guest Diver becomes a member of an OUC-member Club and is covered by the OUC Policy. Details of the Guest Diver Program, as well as the application form may be found on the OUC Website under Guest Diver Program. Your Club's Dive Master must satisfy him/herself that your Club's Guest Diver is OK to make the Club-Sanctioned Dives as planned. Your Club's Dive Master can do this in a number of different ways, including, but not limited to: checking your Guest Diver's certification level, Log Book, and diving with the Guest Diver as their buddy. Guest Divers must follow all the same rules as other OUC Member Club Member divers.

As members of an OUC Insured Member Club, what requirements have to be met when diving in order to be covered under the terms of the policy?

The requirements for Club-Sanctioned Activities (Diving, Training, and Non-Diving) may be found by refering to the Policy Document available on the website.

Is my OUC membership card proof of Liability Insurance Coverage?

Yes, but only if you are a member in good standing of an OUC Insured Member Club. If you are an OUC Individual or Commercial Member, or a member of a Club which has not enrolled in the insurance policy, the provisions of the OUC Liability Policy do not apply to you.

As a member of an OUC Insured Member Club am I still covered when diving with another OUC Member Club?

As OUC Insured Member Clubs must meet certain requirements as specified by the Insurer, you are only covered by the policy when diving with an OUC Insured Member Club. You may dive with any club as their guest based on the club's policies.

I'm a member of an OUC-Member Club and my club sometimes uses my boat for Club-Sanctioned dives, am I covered by the policy?

Yes, you are, providing your boat is being used for the sanctioned event, is not more than 15 metres in length. Our Insurer will allow the boat owner to receive moneys to cover expenses for the use or operation of the boat. If a written agreement is in place related to expenses, it would be considered a commercial agreement and thus would not be covered, For details please refer to the Policy Document. You should refer to the Allsport "Exclusions & Endorsements" section under "Watercraft".

What OUC Membership Categories are covered by provisions of the OUC Liability policy?

If an OUC Member Club has enrolled in the policy, only the following 3 OUC membership categories are covered by provisions of the OUC Liability policy:
1) OUC Member Training Club
2) OUC Member Non-Training Club
3) OUC Member Club Member


What if my Club needs Liability Insurance for a non-diving activity that's not listed on the "Outline" document?

At least 1 week in advance of your planned event, inquire with the OUC office by calling 416-426-7033 AND send an e-mail to ouc@underwatercouncil.com to confirm whether your event can be covered under the terms of the policy or not. You will need to describe the event as best you can (nature of the event, date, venue, how many people are projected to attend, whether food and/or alcoholic beverages will be served, etc.). The OUC office will check with our Insurers whether your event can be covered under the terms of the existing policy, or whether an additional premium will apply. If an additional premium does apply, and you still want the coverage, you will need to pay that premium. If the Insurers agree to cover the event under the existing policy (without charging additional premium) you will be notified accordingly.

I belong to a Club that primarily does Technical Diving. We also have a very active Training Program that goes from Open Water to Cave Diver. Will the OUC's Liability Policy cover us?

Assuming your Club becomes an OUC-Member Training Club, the OUC's Liability Policy would cover your Club for Training Activities related to Recreational Scuba Diving and your Club's Sanctioned Recreational Scuba Dives only (providing they were conducted according to the stated rules). The OUC Liability Insurance Policy would NOT cover you or your Club for the Technical Diving or Training that your Club does. future, if demand for Technical Diving Liability Insurance increases, then OUC would be delighted to meet with Technical Diving Club representatives and explore group liability insurance needs.

Does the OUC liability policy cover us while we're diving down south?

Yes. Providing you meet all the requirements, the OUC Liability Policy covers you and your OUC-member club anywhere in the world.

If I drop my tank on another member's foot, and he sues me, am I covered under the OUC Liability policy?

Yes. You would be covered up to the policy limit (currently $3M, $5M per occurrence as of January 1st, 2015).

I sit on the Executive of an OUC-member Club. If one of our members gets injured on a dive weekend, and sues me and our Club, am I and the Club covered?

Yes. The OUC-member Club, all its OUC member Executive, all its OUC member Staff, and all its OUC member General Membership would be covered up to the policy limit (currently $3M, $5M per occurrence as of January 1st, 2015).

My Club and I belong to the OUC. If we charter a boat and accidentally cause a lot of property damage to it and the Captain of the boat sues us, will the Liability Policy cover us?

Yes, if the Club is enrolled in the Policy and providing the Charter Boat is not more than 15 metres in length (see "Exclusions & Endorsements" document under "Watercraft". A $500 deductible would apply.

If we go on an OUC Club-sanctioned dive and one of our members is personally injured as a result of negligence on the part of the Charter Boat Operator, and the injured member sues the Charter Boat Operator (for negligence) and the Club (for choosing the Charter Boat Operator), does the OUC Liability Policy provide coverage?

The OUC Liability Policy covers the OUC-Member Club and the OUC-Member Club Members only. The Charter Boat Operator (even if s/he is an OUC Commercial Member) is NOT covered under the OUC Liability Policy because the OUC Liability Policy is ONLY offered to Clubs and Members of Clubs. This means Charter Boat Operators have to have their own Liability Insurance Policy.


Is our Dive Master allowed to dive during our Club-Sanctioned-Dive as well?

Of course your Dive Master is allowed to dive. There is nothing in the "Insurance and Risk Management Document" that says your Dive Master has to stay dry. The requirement is this:
Only Supervised Diving Activities are covered by this Policy. Solo Diving is NOT covered under any circumstances.


OUC Recommends: The Member Club should ensure that all diving activities are supervised by personnel certified by, and in active status with a diver training organization as approved by the OUC Board.

What do we do if we don't have a certified Dive Master or Safety Diver?

"Get a Training program going in your Club, because if you don't have a Dive Master or a Safety Diver, something is amiss.
BUT, assuming you're going diving next weekend, you'll need a quicker solution. Here are a few for your consideration:

1) Grab the OUC "Ontario Scuba Community Directory" and call up some local fellow-OUC-Member Clubs to see if they can "loan" you the people you need
2) If you can't get find any fellow OUC-Member personnel that way, then invite non-OUC-member qualified personnel to be your "Guest Divers" for the dive.
They will need to sign up as Guest Divers of your Club under the Terms and Conditions of OUC's "Guest Diver Program" and they will still have to pay whatever you charge them for the dive, but that way, you get yourself a DM and/or a Safety Diver and they'll get to see what diving with a Club is like.
3) Cancel the Club-Sanctioned Dive and notify OUC of the cancellation. If this results in members going ahead with the dive "on their own recognizance" anyways, they need to know that neither they nor the Club will be covered by the policy. Because neither the OUC or the Policy are involved at this stage, you might want to look at having these folks sign off liability release slips."

I belong to one of Ontario's 5 Military Scuba Clubs. We like what OUC is doing for diving in Ontario and would like to join but believe we are already covered by a Canadian Forces Insurance Policy. What do you suggest?

OUC cannot comment Canadian Forces' Liability Insurance
We ask you to assure yourself that you have the coverage you and your Club need.
Consistent with the recommendation in "Interim Canadian Forces Recreation Scuba Club Policy" section 11 e), OUC also extends an invitation to all of Ontario's Military Scuba Clubs to join and become members.
You are reminded that the OUC Liability Insurance Policy is an optional benefit available to OUC Member clubs.

How many (or few) members does it take to be recognized as a Club?

A minimum of 6 paid members are required to be recognized as a Club.

How many years must we archive Club Dive Logs and Training Records for?

OUC recommends records be kept for a minimum of 7 years for both.

Can I purchase OUC's Liability Insurance Policy separately without becoming a Club member?

No. OUC's Liability Insurance Policy is a benefit that is only made available to Member Clubs.

I am a US citizen and live in the States but have joined an OUC Member Club. If I go diving with them on one of their Club-Sanctioned events, are we all still covered?

Yes. As long as you are all OUC Insured Club Members in good standing, are participating in a Club-Sanctioned activity, and have met all the applicable requirements, you are all covered, no matter where in the world your Club-Sanctioned activity is taking place.

My Club hosts several Discover Scuba sessions a year to help fill our courses. Are all the participants and staff covered by the Policy for this?

Your Club must be enrolled in the policy as a Training Club and the event sanctioned. If so, all Instructors and volunteers are covered by the policy. Participants(students) are not covered.

Should a member accidentally violate the rules, e.g., drop below 130' or fall into a decompression profile, are they still covered by the insurance policy?

The rules state that NO dive shall be planned as a decompression dive or greater than 130' at sea-level (Theoretical Depth for Altitude dives). If a dive is planned within those rules but a member accidentally exceeds those limits, then the member and the Club will still be covered. It is expected however that the Dive Master will review any and all accidental exceeding of limits with the individual/s involved with a view towards ensuring they do not recur in the future. And that any and all accidental exceeding of limits will be recorded as such in the official records of that dive.

What if my Club can't meet all the OUC Requirements?

If your Club can't meet all OUC requirements, you have 2 choices:
1) Inform all participants that this planned diving activity does not meet OUC requirements and that therefore no-one will be covered under the OUC liability policy. Everyone therefore dives on their own recognizance.
2) Cancel the dive

Do non-member volunteers volunteering at an OUC Member Club sanctioned non-diving event have to enrol in the OUC's Guest Diver Program?

No, they do not. Under the policy they are fully covered while they are fulfilling their non-diving volunteer responsibilities. They may however wish to enrol in the Guest Diver Program anyways, so that they would be covered for OUC Member Club sanctioned diving (as well as non-diving) activities too.

Can non-member guest divers enrol in the OUC Guest Diver Program on the day of the dive?

Absolutely yes!, That's the whole intent of the GDP!

My Club allows non-member bubble watchers to ride along on charters. Would they be required to enrol in the OUC Guest Diver Program in order for OUC's Liability Insurance to cover them?

If the non-member bubble watchers are NOT diving, they would NOT have to enrol in the GDP in order for your Club's liability insurance to be in force.

Yes, but are the non-member bubble-watchers covered under the policy as well?

If the non-member bubble-watchers are volunteering (helping people get ready, helping with entry & exit, being an extra set of eyes & ears for the Dive Master or the Safety Divers, helping keep records, serving refreshments, etc.) then they ARE covered. Just remember to please send us a list of their names and roles (you can do so quickly and easily online) before the Club-sanctioned activities.
If the non-member bubble-watchers are NOT volunteering, they will then not be covered under the policy.

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