Frequently Asked Questions


We’ve implemented specific COVID-19 measures to protect the safety of our Crew and yours. We ask for your patience during these challenging times.  The Marina at Happy Days is closed for the season and will re-open in May 2021.  Until then, our Reservation Crew are available by phone or email to answer your questions.  The Province of Ontario is in a State of Emergency as of January 14 at 12:01 am  for 28 days.  Our response time may be impacted.


What is your cancellation or refund policy during COVID-19?

  • All Rental Terms and Conditions apply unless otherwise stated. The Cancellation Policy is the same as pre-pandemic.  If you cancel, the deposit is non refundable.  Choosing to make a reservation during a known pandemic is a decision that requires careful thought and consideration to possible outcomes.

What if…?

  • There are so many “what ifs” and uncertainty about how COVID-19 will continue to impact our lives. All protocols and safety measures identified by health authorities will be adhered to based on what we know now.  Happy Days Houseboats will provide updates to our guests via email and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Are there any COVID-19 restrictions?

  • Occupancy is restricted. The maximum occupancy for each houseboat is listed for each model.  The number of households, or registered addresses of occupants must be the same as the number of private sleeping areas.  The luxury and 12 Sleeper models can accommodate five households; the 10 and 8 Sleeper models can accommodate four households; the 8 Suncruiser and 6 sleeper models can accommodate three households and the Executive can accommodate two households.  When 50% of the rental balance is due 60 days prior to the houseboat rental, a Captain’s Manifest must be provided, which includes the names and addresses of all Crew members.


Can anyone be Captain?

  • Anyone over the age of 25 can operate the houseboat provided that they have completed the Captain’s Orientation, have been issued Proof of Competency by a member of the Training Crew at Happy Days Houseboats and hold a valid driver’s license.

What does it mean to be the Captain?

  • The Captain is in legal care and control of the vessel and is responsible for life safety of all Crew members and occupants on board.

Can there be more than one Captain?

  • There is only one Captain on board any vessel. It is possible to have more of the Crew trained on the safe handling and operation of the houseboat.  Competency must be demonstrated prior to departure from the dock by anyone wishing to be an Operator.

What if we don’t want to drive the houseboat?  Can we hire a Captain?

  • Happy Days Houseboats provides a Bareboat (Demise) Charter and this means that it is your responsibility to operate and provision the houseboat. You are not able to hire a Captain because it would no longer be a Bareboat (Demise) Charter.
  • If you don’t want to drive the houseboat, you can enjoy floating dockside and enjoy the beautiful view that is our backyard. Swim, fish and stargaze from the comfort of your boat and a safe dockside location.


  • All vessel Operators in Canada are required to have Proof of Competency. Rental Companies are able to issue Proof of Competency in accordance with Transport Canada requirements.
  • A boat license refers to the numbers on the hull of a boat that serves as a registration number.

Do I need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card?

  • You do not need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card but it is highly recommended and can be obtained on line.


  • Whether you are an experienced and competent boat Operator or new to the wonderful world of boating, Happy Days Houseboats will provide specialized training. During the Captain’s Orientation, you will receive enhanced training that covers the safe operation and unique handling characteristics of a houseboat.  There is a Training and Orientation Video and Manual for your reference, and, a Happy Days Instructor  will come on board and go through the operating systems of the houseboat, complete a Dock Side Safety Check List and provide practical instruction.

How long does the instruction take?

  • Instruction is competency based and will take as long as needed to ensure your safety while on the water.

Can we do anything ahead of time?

  • The more knowledge you have, the more enjoyable boating becomes.
  • Obtain your Pleasure Craft Operator Card. It makes sure you have immediate navigation and safety skills and provides a starting point of what you should know when you get on a boat.  Visit our You Tube channel for “How To” videos.


  • Monday and Friday are check in-check out days. The Free Pre-board is always on a Monday or Friday at 7 pm.

What is a Free Pre-board?

  • This your opportunity to enjoy an extra night on the houseboat to get settled and comfortable on board prior to your departure.

Can we arrive early?

  • We are unable to guarantee an early check in. Our Crew needs enough time to prepare for your arrival.  This includes a very focused effort on maintaining our excellent standards in mechanical servicing and preventative maintenance and extreme attention to detail as we clean and sanitize between guests.  If you arrive earlier than Check In and the houseboat you have rented is ready to go, we will get you boarded on early.

Can we have a late check out?

  • Check out is 2 pm. The houseboat must be returned to the dock and vacated by 2 pm on the date of your return so we can start preparing for our next guests.


  • The beauty of a houseboat is that you “hurry up and slow down”. No matter where you go, you’re already there.  Your houseboat will travel up to 6 knots, 7-10 km or 7 miles an hour.  We recommend a specific travel speed to allow you to achieve the best fuel consumption.


  • The rental rate of your houseboat includes your time on board the boat, all training and Proof of Competency requirements, septic pump out, propane, insurance, use of the launch ramp and parking for all types of vehicles. You are responsible for the security deposit, the gas you use and Parks Canada lock and mooring fees.

What is the Security Deposit?

  • The security deposit of $4000 will be applied to any outstanding charges including but not limited to lost or damaged items, late returns, excessively unclean boats or any damages. Payment of $25/day plus 13% hst will reduce the amount of security deposit required to $1500.  This option is not available on the luxury model as it requires a $4000 security deposit.

What are fuel costs?

  • Each houseboat comes with a full tank of gas and you pay for the gas you use during your time on board. Houseboats have fuel tanks that range in size from 200 litres to 600 litres.  Fuel costs will vary depending on how far you travel.  Marine gas tends to be more expensive on the water than road based gas stations.  The travel range on a tank of gas is approximately 12-16 hours of boating on a 200 litre tank and up to 24 hours of boating on a 600 litre tank,  at an average cost of $12-$15/boating hour.

Is there a cost to use the locks?

  • Happy Days Houseboats purchases seasonal lock and mooring passes so that you can go through as many locks as often as you would like, as well as, overnight moor at the locks (based on first come first served). The price ranges depending on the boat model and duration of the rental.  Your Reservation Specialist will confirm these costs for you.  Parks Canada is responsible for establishing the fees.  If you stay overnight at a lock that offers hydro hook up, there is a fee for use of hydro.
  • What does it cost to stay at a private marina?  Costs will vary depending on the amenities and services provided.  Typically, marina fees range from $50 and up.  You are always welcome to return to Happy Days Marina and enjoy our facility for free.


  • Before dark you must be secure to shore. Being secure to shore is either at a lock, on a dock at a private marina or beached on shore, where approved.  This information will be provided upon arrival.


  • With administrative approval, your well behaved dog may accompany you. The fee to bring a dog on board is $25/day and additional cleaning fees may apply.   Dogs are not permitted on the Luxury model.  We ask that you use a kennel when you are not on board to monitor your dog. Please practice cleanliness by not allowing the pet on furniture and cleaning up after your pet.  Puppies are not permitted.


  • It is recommended that you book as soon as you are able to commit to your vacation times. For 2021, we are experiencing increased demand and reservations are also being accepted for 2022 and beyond.  Spring, summer or fall go ahead and give us a call.


  • Email us your details and if an availability should arise, we’ll be sure to reach out. We need your name, phone number, preferred dates and the number of people in your Crew.  If you prefer a specific houseboat model, let us know.


  • The houseboats do not have wifi on board but there is free wifi at Happy Days Marina. There are opportunities for wifi in different areas along the Trent Severn Waterway, but if wifi is critical, please consider topping up your data plan.


  • Appropriate footwear. This includes a solid sole shoe for locking through and docking.  Not flip flops.  As the name suggests, you may flip and flop, which is an unnecessary safety hazard.
  • Good walking shoes. There are so many opportunities to get off the houseboat, go exploring and take a walk.  Whether you are wandering through a quaint village or hiking the Trans Canada Trail, walking is the best way to combat “boating and bloating.”
  • A great Crew! Group dynamics are an important decision when you are considering who you want to spend a prolonged period of time with in a confined space.  We recommend friends who are like family and family who are like friends.


  • It is legal to carry alcohol on board because there are permanent cooking facilities, sleeping quarters and a toilet. All applicable laws for alcohol and cannabis apply to a houseboat.
  • The interior of all houseboats are non-smoking.

Can we drink while the boat is in motion?

  • Never drink and drive. The only time you are legal to drink while on board is when you are securely docked with no intention of operating the houseboat.


  • Fun is defined as enjoyment, amusement or lighthearted pleasure.  Your good times on board with friends and family are very important to us and since 1978, we’ve seen a lot of fun times on board.
  • The Trent Severn Waterway is a federal park and most locks are located in small communities. As such, it is recognized that between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am, that noise is kept to a minimum.  Happy Days Houseboats is also a marina that is home to seasonal boaters that come to their boat to enjoy rest and relaxation.  Please remember that however you define fun, your fun should not come at the expense of others.


  • Happy Days Houseboats is the “boatique” experience you’ve been looking for. We value your leisure time and we are boaters.  If not at work on a boat, we are at play on a boat and it’s our pleasure to share our experience and local knowledge with you.
  • Happy Days Houseboats is ideally located midway on the Trent Severn Waterway and is a convenient 1.5 hour drive from Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
  • Our prices are an indication of the value and service you will be getting from our company. Extended service hours, great boats, excellent people and a perfect starting point to an awesome adventure await you!
Happy Days Houseboats remains committed to always being fully compliant with all public health guidelines and government restrictions.

Many people continue to be impacted by Covid and have many questions that start with “What if…”  The only thing certain is the uncertainty and any decision you make today is being made amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic.  All Rental Terms and Conditions apply unless otherwise stated.

Why Happy Days Houseboats?

We are boaters and we want to share our passion, expertise and local knowledge with you.  We value your leisure time and  recognize that you have a lot of vacation options.  Happy Days Houseboats is ideally located midway on the Trent Severn Waterway and is a convenient 1.5-hour drive from Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Our prices are an indication of the value and service you will be getting from our company. Extended service hours, great boats, and excellent people makes Happy Days Houseboats the perfect starting point to the awesome adventure that awaits you!

Do I need a License or Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card?

We believe the more knowledge you have, the more enjoyable boating becomes.  You do not need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) but having one makes sure you have immediate navigation and boating safety skills.  It is recommended, appreciated and can be completed online.

At Happy Days Houseboats, we provide instruction that goes beyond the basics.  Instruction is provided that will  increase your knowledge of local hazards and the lock system, as well as, the specific handling characteristics of a houseboat.  Proof of competency will be issued that complies with Transport Canada requirements and includes a dockside safety checklist and practical, on-board training.  A Training Manual is provided on board every houseboat.  The Training Video is always available on our You Tube Channel and each houseboat is equipped with an electronic tablet and the Happy Days Houseboat App for ongoing reference.

Proof of operator competency must be demonstrated prior to departure from our dock.   While operator training can be provided for more than one person, there is only one Captain on a boat.  The Captain is responsible for legal care and control of the vessel and life safety of all passengers.

What is a Bareboat Charter?

A bareboat charter is an arrangement for the chartering or hiring of a ship or boat, whereby no crew or provisions are included as part of the agreement; instead, the people who rent the vessel from the owner are responsible for taking care of such things. The charterer obtains possession and full control of the vessel along with the legal and financial responsibility for it.

How soon should we book?

It is recommended that you book as soon as you are able to commit to your vacation times. It may save some disappointment later. Spring, summer or fall go ahead and give us a call. All seasons are equally enjoyable as our houseboats are equipped with all the comforts of home.

Can I use a hairdryer, flat iron, gourmet coffee maker (keurig/nespresso), toaster, electric frypan, koolatron, etc.?

No, you can’t and here’s why ~high amperage appliances have a strong electric current that will overburden the onboard electrical system. All houseboats are equipped with an inverter system that takes the power from the battery system and inverts it to electrical power.  As such, there is limited electrical capacity. The fridge, lights, pumps, etc. that are required for the proper function of the houseboat are powered by the onboard battery system.

Breathing machines, laptops, a small fan, cell phones and other low-wattage appliances will work.

Staying at a private marina or, at a lock that is equipped with power hook up, would enable you to use high amperage appliances, but you must be plugged into an onshore electrical source.

Can we bring our dog?

We would prefer that you make alternate arrangements for your dog, especially if you or your dog are new to boating.   At Happy Days Houseboats, we are dog friendly but bringing a dog on board requires your houseboat adventure to be prioritized to the needs of your dog instead of your Crew.

Administrative approval is required prior to arrival if you intend to bring your dog.  The Luxury model is a pet free model. The fee to bring a dog on board is $25/day and additional cleaning fees may apply.

Puppies, cats, reptiles, birds or other animals are not permitted on board.

What does double berth mean?

A double berth means that the sleeping area can accommodate two people.

Clean Marine Program

As we are just borrowing the earth from future generations, Happy Days Houseboats strive to be as eco-friendly as possible by reducing the amount of pre-packaged foods (less garbage), recycle at every opportunity, dispose of refuse in appropriate locations (lock stations, marinas, Happy Days Marina), and use biodegradable soaps where possible. Check the ingredients and the symbols.Marine Clean Logo

Happy Days Houseboats is a member of Boating Ontario and active participant in their Clean Marine program. We have been independently evaluated and rated for eco-efficiency performance by our significant commitment to environmental improvement. Happy Days Houseboats will promote clean marine practices at all times and agrees to always show respect for the environment and for the fish, birds and animals and all other creatures that share it with us.

What is there to do?

The Trent Severn Waterway is a national treasure, a designated historical site that is safeguarded and managed by Parks Canada. The Waterway links Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay and as you travel through the locks, reflect on the history of water travel as you trace the route taken by Samuel de Champlain in 1614.

Explore the great cultural legacy of Native Canadians by visiting Whetung Ojibwa Centre located on Upper Buckhorn Lake. Water sports are endless and you can fish, swim, wakeboard, canoe, kayak and paddleboard or just simply float. Plan to stargaze.

The area has many species of birds and wildlife can be plentiful with deer, otters, beavers and in some areas, bears and raccoons. There are art galleries, art festivals, music festivals and museums. Shop in the many interesting towns and boutiques along the Waterway or visit the spa or golf course. Wifi is available at Happy Days Houseboats and at different locations along this aqueous highway if you need to stay connected. But if you can, indulge in some digital detox and turn the technology off!

What equipment and utensils are available in Galley/Kitchen?

For the love of food! The most discerning of chefs will find the well-equipped galley has the following items:

  • Place settings for the maximum number of occupants including dinner plates, small plates, soup bowls, mugs, glasses and cutlery (steak knife, butter knife, forks, teaspoon and tablespoons)
  • Large and small pot
  • 2 cast iron frying pans
  • Utensils: Egg flipper, ladle, tongs, potato masher, carrot/potato peeler, can opener, scissors, big and small sharp knives, cutting board, milk jug, juice jug, cheese grater, measuring cup(s).
  • Coffee perk, 2 big serving bowls, tea kettle, teapot, ashtrays, ice cube trays.
  • Biodegradable dish soap
  • Plastic deck chairs
  • Large cooler for beverages
  • Adult life jackets for passengers over 90lbs.

If it’s not on board, just ask us. Remember… an apron is just a cape on backwards.

Great restaurants along the Waterway provide awesome culinary experiences. Farmer’s Markets offer fresh local samplings. Check us out on Pinterest for campfire and BBQ recipes.

Alcohol and Cannabis

The use of alcohol or cannabis or any other type of drug can impair judgement. It is illegal to operate the houseboat while impaired. Happy Days Houseboats will provide complete driver training when it is certain that there is no impairment.

No Smoking Policy

The interior of all houseboats is non-smoking/non-vaping.

Can we have more people on board than the maximum occupancy?

Our maximum occupancy cannot exceed the maximum allowable for the specified boat model. Children and infants are considered occupants.

Can I fish in the Kawarthas?

The Kawarthas offer great fishing.

  • WALLEYE / PICKEREL: 2nd Saturday in May – Nov. 15
  • MUSKIE: 1st Saturday in June – Dec. 15
  • BASS: 3rd Saturday in June – Dec. 5

* See Ontario Fishing Regulation Summary Zone 17 for slot size and limits.