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What to Do With an Old Boat? Whatever Your Choice, Don’t Abandon It!

What to Do With an Old Boat? Whatever Your Choice, Don’t Abandon It!


For decades, abandoned boats have littered our coastal shorelines and waterways, posing an environmental and safety risk and negatively impacting local economies. As concerns mounted, Boating BC was amongst those advocating for action, and we were pleased when Transport Canada made the important decision three years ago to establish the national Abandoned Boats Program.

The Program includes many initiatives to address the issue including partnering with organizations like ours to carry out an education and awareness program, reminding boaters it is their responsibility to dispose of their boat responsibly when the time comes, and to provide a database of boat disposal services across the province. There are many considerations to make when the time comes to retire your boat and our online resource helps guide you through the process.  

We are proud to be involved in a partnership that involves some concrete actions and one that is also demonstrating some encouraging results. So far, we’ve reached a cumulative audience of more than 15 million people, and anecdotally we know that many people have utilized our website database of boat disposal resources to manage the process themselves. 

Transport Canada has made $5.6 million available to remove abandoned boats. To date, 111 have been approved for removal in this province, positively impacting many BC communities including those on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, which are amongst those most affected.

We know the vast majority of boaters are responsible, but not all. For those who willingly abandon their vessel, the passage of Bill-64, the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessel Act, now makes it illegal to abandon a boat in Canada, increasing owner responsibility, liability and the potential for penalties.

While progress has been made, there remains significant work ahead and we will continue our collective efforts. We encourage you to learn more about the issue of abandoned boats, where to report an abandoned boat in your area, boat disposal options and details about our campaign at

If you have any questions on the issue of abandoned boats or boat disposal please contact us, we’d be happy to help.