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Good Guest, Bad Guest … You Decide

When You Arrive, When You Leave

Since launching our www.ecottagefilms.com Ontario vacation shoreline and cottage website, we have been flooded for requests for advice on having guests up to a cottage. Many of these ideas are common courtesy and common sense and many are in order to protect the safety of the guests and the hosts alike. We hope you find our Good Guest Bad Guest” articles enjoyable and informative.

Always have a set arrival and departure time and confirm this schedule  with your hosts in advance. Always call in advance and make sure that you are still welcome. 

Things change so please call first. And always asking, “What can I bring?” is always appreciated. Do you need to bring your own bed linens, better ask first. Please also read our section on “Food at the Cottage”.

Common Items Guests Should Consider Bringing to a Cottage:

  • cases of bottled water
  • suntan lotion
  • bug repellant
  • life jackets
  • beach towels
  • bed linens and anything else your family would enjoy or your host suggests.


Many cottages do not have the room for all the cars to park by the cottage. Be courteous and ask your host if there is another spot where they would like you to park. Many cottage resorts have a visitors parking area. If they do, park your car there.

Departure: Never, never, never spring on your hosts “We can stay another week!”

 Your hosts may be looking forward to having some time alone or may have invited other guests up. This puts your hosts into the uncomfortable position of having to politely inform you that they have made other plans and want you to leave. Do not take the left over liquor or food home. Even if your host insists, tell them to keep it for the next guests. If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Smoking and Pets at the Cottage

Smoking at Your Host’s Cottage Does your host allow smoking in their cottage? Ask first.

You smoke, they don’t. Therefore never smoke in or near their cottage. To be on the safe side, do not smoke in the cottage or even in a screened in room. Ask if its okay to smoke even if your host smokes. Second hand smoke is very offensive to non-smokers so please smoke outside. Please do not flick your butts onto their lawn or their beach, place your butts in a container. Bringing Pets to a Cottage Ask your host’s permission first before bringing any pets to a cottage. Many people have pet allergies so its best to ask permission in advance. Clean up after your pets, they are your responsibility. Dog poop in the yard has to be scooped up and disposed of. No host wants there children walking into your dogs excrement. Accident in the cottage? Clean it up immediately.  Tie up your pets. Dogs who run away and you have to spend half the night looking for them are annoying to your hosts and likely will insure that you will never be invited back. 

Plus if your host is renting the cottage most cottage rental contracts now specify a No Smoking, No Pets” policy so its best you be aware of this before you arrive. 

If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Food at the Cottage

Show up empty handed, eat all their food, drink all their liquor and then leave means that you will never be invited back… ever! 

Complaining about the food served will only annoy your hosts. Its a cottage, not the Hilton and keep your opinions to yourself. Rural grocery stores are small and do not carry a wide assortment of items. So if you’re expecting French imported beef at the local store, you are sure to be disappointed. If you want something special, bring it with you.  For a weekend bring along enough food to do a meal for everyone. Making something that your hosts enjoy will be greatly appreciated. Also if you go out for dinner, pay for the dinner. Wash the dishes and help with the cleanup. Your efforts will be appreciated.

Allergies at the Cottage

If your host has allergies, please bring along food that they can eat. The cottage area grocery store likely does not carry much gluten or lactose free products so bringing these along will be greatly appreciated. Call in advance and ask “What can I bring?” If you or your family have food allergies, bring your own. The local grocery store likely won’t have what you need. For example, if your child has a nut allergy, please bring along your own food and inform your host but your childs safety is your responsibility.  If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at  https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Alcohol at the Cottage

Alcohol at the Cottage

Bring your own alcohol and mix and extra of what you know your host likes. Often the LCBO stores in cottage country don’t carry the vast assortment that an urban store does and so your host will appreciate you bringing them up their favourite beverage that may not be available locally.  Likewise, complaining that the local LCBO does not carry your favourite brand of imported wine will be considered rude and will annoy your hosts. If you want an expensive bottle of wine, bring it with you.

When buying beer, buy cans. 

Every cottage owner has stories of having to remove broken shards of glass from their own, their children’s or their pet’s feet from walking on a broken beer bottle. Whenever trying to pick up broken glass you never get all the pieces. Buy your beer in cans, your hosts will appreciate it. 

I doubt that your host will appreciate you getting totally drunk in front of their young children (or their in-laws). 

Drinking at a cottage has spoiled many a relationship. Therefore please pace your drinking to that of your hosts, preferably away from the children. If you want to drink to excess, wait until all of the children have gone to bed. Plus getting roaring drunk after your hosts have gone to bed will almost guarantee that you will never be invited back. If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Kids and Safety at the Cottage

Before heading off, please discuss with your children that you are a guest and that certain rules apply. This is far better done before you leave then trying to tell your children once they arrive.

For their own safety, we insist that all children under the age of 12 wear a life jacket when playing near or on the water. No exceptions. 

Children are often not aware of the dangers of playing on a dock or near deep water.  Do not argue with your hosts if they say that your children should wear a life jacket. Small children are not aware of the dangers of deep water and so they think little of playing on the dock or a steep drop off. Plus bring your own life jackets, suntan lotion, bug repellant and beach towels. 

Your hosts (unless they are your parents) are not built in baby sitters. 

Never expect your hosts to look after your children while you run off to town or go for a walk. If you do leave, let your hosts know and ask if they will look after your kids while you are gone. Your kids are your responsibility. 

Power Tools: Do not let your guests use a chainsaw. 

Unless you are teaching them, do not let them touch it. Experienced woodsmen get hurt every day using chainsaws so lending your chainsaw is only inviting disaster. Plus the larger the chainsaw the more dangerous they are. So unless you plan on supervising, lock all your power tools up. Please also read our section on Marine and High Powered Recreational Vehicles. If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Outdoor Fires and Damages at the Cottage

Outdoor Fires

Having an outdoor fire is a real treat to those from the city but have adult supervision near the fire at all times. For reasons unknown to me, once the adults leave the firepit area the kids want to see how high the flames can go, so they pile all the firewood on the fire at once. Not only does this use up all of your host’s firewood but the dangers to the cottage is obvious.  Without adult supervision, kids have been known to throw aerosol cans (which explode) or rubber tires (that cause immense environmental damage) onto the fire.  Please insure that the fires are out when you go to bed. Yes, that means dousing the the fire with plenty of water, stirring the ashes and then dousing the fire again. Outdoor fires are great but please supervise.

Damages at the Cottage

You or one of your family members broke it, you fix it or replace it. No exceptions. Even if your host says no problem, fix or replace it. Most cottage rental contracts require a damage deposit so your host is liable for the damages you caused.  If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Computers at the Cottage

Using Your Hosts Computer Please ask before you arrive if the cottage has WIFI.

 Many rural areas are not equipped for internet hookup and your host may not have a satellite hookup so it’s best you ask before coming up. Ask yourself, “Will it really hurt to not be connected to the rest of the world for this weekend?”  But if your host’s cottage does not have internet access and you must check your emails, the simple answer is to locate the closest Tim Horton’s donut shop and use their WIFI.

But if the cottage does have internet access do not touch your host’s computer. 

Do not even ask to use it. This is their personal property and information and using it is an invasion of their privacy. Before you arrive tell your kids that they are not to touch or ask to use their host’s computer. If you want to check up on your emails at a cottage, bring your own computer. 

Remember, childhood memories are not made on a computer. 

They are made by being with family and friends and playing outdoors. Make sure you get them away from their electronics and into the sunshine. Get them outside. They will thank you for it later. If its too awful to play outside, bring out some cards, board games or go take in a movie at the local cinema. Your kids will enjoy it. If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Using Marine and Other High Powered Recreational Vehicles

We at ecottagefilms.com have been flooded for requests from cottage owners to outline the dangers of having inexperienced guests and their children using their high powered boats and recreational vehicles. 

We have all heard the horror stories from parents of children who have been seriously hurt or killed after they lent out their high powered boats, personal watercraft, ATVs, or snowmobiles to guests. “Oh yeah, I know how to drive these”, but once behind the wheel of a boat that goes 70 mph on the water, the adrenaline rush kicks in, away they go and accidents happen. For example, watch a novice boat driver approach a dock. When you turn off a car, the car stops. When you turn off a boat it still continues forward for 30 feet, smashing into the dock.  Plus novice boat drivers do not know that when pulling a water skier or a person on a tube that when you make a hard left hand turn that the person being pulled swings out to their right at an incredible speed, hitting the dock or a swim platform. Ask any police officer or parent who has lost a child when this happens. 

Our viewers constantly tell us…People that do not own a boat (or other high powered recreational vehicles) do not know how to drive them. 

They think they do, but they don’t. What do you think the eventual outcome will be of allowing an inexperienced, unlicensed 14 year old to hop on your high powered boat, personal watercraft, ATV or snowmobile? He will hit the throttle and the only speed they will ever drive at is FULL SPEED!  Yes, teach them, but letting them hop on and letting them drive away, no.  You are simply asking for trouble.  

Everyone thinks that they are an excellent boat driver,  even if they have never driven a boat before! If a guest wants to drive a boat, tell them to buy their own!

All cottage owners know of people who have lent out their boats to friends who swore that they were experienced boat drivers and who then caused an accident. Whenever a cottage guest drives a boat, there are only two speeds, stop and full speed. Same goes for personal watercraft and all recreational vehicles.

People who do not own boats think that they know how to drive them, they don’t.

Never lend a boat or other high powered recreational vehicle to a guest. You will regret it. Nobody respects your marine and recreational products like the person who paid and owns them. 

Plus, it is the law that all drivers require a Ontario Boat Operators Card. 

If you allow a guest to drive a boat or personal watercraft who does not have the card and an accident does happen, they are not covered by your insurance.

Likewise as a guest never take out any boats or recreational vehicles without your host’s permission. 

 No matter how many fishing shows you have watched, you are still a novice in comparison to the person who owns the boat. And be careful.  If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Drinking on a Boat in Ontario

Drinking on a Boat in Ontario Drinking alcohol in a running boat by either the driver or passengers is illegal in Ontario. 

Therefore do not attempt to bring along alcohol for your boat ride as it is the boat owner-operator that gets charged.

Drinking and driving a boat in Ontario carries the same penalties as drinking and driving on the Hwy #401.  You may only consume alcohol on a boat in Ontario if… -it is anchored or moored at a dock -the boat has all 3 of the following: washroom facilities, permanent cooking facilities and sleeping facilities. Cottage owners are frequently asked by their intoxicated guests to allow them to bring their drinks along for the boat ride.

Most cottage guests do not realize that the O.P.P. patrol the inland waters and smaller lakes and carry breath analyzers with them. I allow my guests to drink all they want while sitting on the dock, but when it comes to the boat ride, they leave their drinks on the dock. Heavily intoxicated passengers are a danger to themselves and others in a boat. 

My advice, if your guests are totally intoxicated, leave them on the dock  or plan the boat ride for the next day.

Plus if you ever let an intoxicated person drive any of your recreational vehicles, you deserve all the problems you will soon be getting. If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Helping Around the Cottage

Helping Around the Cottage

Do your own laundry. Whether in town or at the cottage nobody wants to wash your underwear but yourself. Tidy up after yourself and your children too. Sweep floors, hang towels, do the dishes and basically keep the cottage as clean as possible.  If you are handy, bring some tools with you. You don’t have to renovate the kitchen but fixing a leaky tap will always be appreciated. If you are like me, I’m all thumbs when it comes to fixing things so having a guest that will help out is a pleasure indeed.  If you are a frequent guest maybe invite yourself along to open or close up the cottage. An extra pair of hands bringing in the boats and the dock is always appreciated.

Is the Cottage on a Well?

If yes, you are better off to bring up your own bottled drinking water. Some wells have plenty of water, some do not. So it’s always best to let your hosts shower first. Plus when you shower, keep it short and do not use up all of the hot water. Also clean up the bathroom after yourself. Your hosts will appreciate it.

Your Host Has to go to Work

You may be on holidays, they may not be. Ridiculing them that they have to go to work (to help pay for the cottage you are visiting) guarantees that you will never be invited back. If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Guests: Bringing Along a Friend and Inviting Co-workers to Your Cottage

Guests: Bringing Along a Friend? Don’t do it. Many a great weekend holiday has been ruined by the guest who brings along an uninvited friend. 

Whenever guests bring along uninvited friends to a cottage the guest always spends more time with their friend than they do with their hosts. The host then feels taken advantage of and resentful.  A cottage owner told us… “It’s never the guests that you invite that causes the problems its the people that they bring with them that give you the headaches.” 

Inviting Co-workers to Your Cottage Don’t do it. This will quickly cause resentment among those co-workers who you did not invite or who could not make it up to your cottage. 

Many a cottage owner-boss has lived to regret inviting co-workers up to their cottage. Having your co-workers seeing you in your underwear or with one too many drinks in you will likely change the way they relate to you at work. Besides, this cottage time is your away from work time. Why bring your business associates along with you? Nothing is quite like the ill feeling of having people in your cottage you don’t like and you can’t wait for them to leave. After a while you stop caring that they brought nothing with them, ate all your food and drank all your liquor, you just want them gone! If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Family at the Cottage

Family at the Cottage

Just because you are related does not mean that you can invite yourselves up to a family member’s cottage. Especially when they are renting the cottage, they probably are looking forward to some peace and quiet. The following advice applies to family members and guests alike: Every cottage owner has stories of relatives who they have not spoken to in years but once they buy a cottage these same relatives are calling and inviting themselves up.  Ask yourself: Are they calling because they want to spend time with me or are they looking for a free holiday. If the answer is the latter, maybe you might want to say that you are busy that week. 

You bought the cottage for yourself and your family. You are not obligated to share it with distant family members or friends unless you want to. 

I know a number of people who allowed relatives to take advantage of their hospitality and they ended up selling the cottage in order to get rid of them. If you allow your cottage to be the free holiday destination for every family member, friend and co-worker you will quickly regret it.  A cottage can be a great place for family and friends to get together and distant relatives to get to know one another. Use a little common sense and you will all have a great time. If you have any additional suggestions or comments,  please contact us at https://ecottagefilms.com/contact-us/

Copyright 2016 ecottagefilms.com. All Rights Reserved

Launching Your Boat

Launching Your Boat
Due to the amount of emails we have received seeking advice on the proper methods of launching a boat, we offer the following advice.  This information is meant as a guide only.
At Home Preparation…Properly Hooking up Your Trailer
– Once the trailer is on your vehicle’s trailer ball make sure that the pin through the tongue jack is in.  This pin keeps the trailer tongue from becoming detached from your vehicle.
– Hook up the trailer safety chains and make sure they cross over each other.  This way, if the trailer tongue comes off the ball, the tongue will end up being held up by the crossed safety chains and not be hitting the ground.
– Every boat trailer needs a secondary safety clip that is attached to the trailer and then is hooked onto the winch boat clip in case the winch gives way.  Make sure that this safety clip is attached.
– Check to make sure that all of your tie down straps are secure and tight.
– Attach and check your trailer lights, running lights, brake lights and left and right turn signal indicators.
– Check to make sure that your boat’s drain plug is in and secure.
– Make sure you have your boat’s ignition key
– Check the amount of fuel in your boat’s fuel tanks.
– Check your trailer tires for proper air pressure.
Basic Safety Equipment Required in Operate a Boat in Ontario
Every boater needs an Ontario “Pleasure Craft Operators Card”
(please refer to http://www.aceboater.com for more information on how to obtain this card)
Basic Safety Equipment Your Boat Must Have
– One life jacket per person
– A boat ladder
– 50 feet of throw rope with a float
– A watertight flashlight
– Emergency flares
– 2 paddles or oars
– An anchor with 50 feet of line
– An air horn
– A magnetic compass
– A fire extinguisher
– Navigation lights
For a more accurate list of the safety equipment required please refer to the Transport Canada Boater Safety website:
Alcohol and Driving a Boat
Do not even think of driving a boat in Ontario if you have been drinking.  Driving a boat in Ontario carries the same penalties as being caught while drinking and driving a car on Highway 401.  The OPP patrol all the lakes and are equipped with breath analyzers and will impound your boat if you are caught.
At the Launch
Park your boat away from the launch, unhook it from the winch and prepare your boat for launching.  Now wait your turn and assist other boaters if required.
Unplug your trailer lights and make sure your drain plug is in.
Every boater has stories of launching their boat with the drain plug out.  Don’t let this happen to you.
Have a long rope attached to the front of the boat so that the person assisting you can help move the boat once off the trailer to a space on the dock away from the launch area.  After launching, tie up your boat to the dock, away from the launch ramp area.
Docking to Return Home
Approach the dock area slowly. Tie up your boat away from the launch area and wait your turn.
When your turn comes, have the vehicle driver back the boat trailer into the water.  If inexperienced, one of you should get into the water to guide the boat on the trailer and hook up the winch cable.  If experienced, you can drive the boat directly onto the trailer and hook up the winch cable.
When exiting the water, drive your vehicle and trailer away from the launch area and proceed to secure your boat with the tie downs and to remove articles into your vehicle.  Nothing is more frustrating to other boaters than people who remove their boats from the water and then park on the launch ramp to unload and secure their boat.  Please remove your boat and trailer to a spot away from the launch area, the other boaters will appreciate it.
Now attach your trailer lights and to secure your boat tie downs. Remember to attach the safety clip from the trailer to your winch clip. Plus, please remove anything from your boat that may fly out once you are driving.
Remember, common courtesy and respect for other boaters will ensure that you have a pleasant day on the water.
Copyright: Richard L. Torch, ecottagefilms.com   All rights reserved.


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