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From canoeing to jet boating, floating on water is a popular recreational activity and mode of transportation in Alberta. As with all other recreational activities, boating does impact the environment and other users. Impacts can include:

  • Habitat destruction
  • Loss of vegetation
  • Soil compaction, contamination and erosion
  • Transfer of weeds
  • Water contamination
  • Wildlife disruption

Boating Responsibly

By following these simple practices, you can minimize the impacts of boating.

Know the Law

In Alberta, laws have been put in place to ensure that watercraft use does not result in transfer of aquatic invasive species into our waterbodies:

  • Watercraft must be drained – It is illegal for you to transport your watercraft with the drain plug still in place. Watercraft users must demonstrate that their watercraft has been drained of standing water. Those who fail to comply may be subject to a court appearance and fined up to $100,000.
  • Watercraft must be inspected – By law, watercraft users in Alberta must report in to watercraft inspection stations when highway signage indicates such stations are open. Bypassing an open inspection station while transporting a watercraft is a violation of Alberta’s Fisheries Act, and can result in fines up to $100,000 or 12 months in prison.

Be sure that you are familiar with these laws and what your responsibilities and legal obligations are. For further details, see:

Plan ahead and be prepared

Know the following:

  • Applicable regulations
  • Ground and weather conditions
  • Terrain
  • Your route

Be courteous and respectful

Keep your wake low in high use and swimming areas as well as when you are close to shore.

Leave what you find

Don't disturb:

  • Archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest
  • Plants, waterfowl and other wildlife
  • Rocks

Manage your food and waste

  • Dispose of human waste responsibly; on shore in an outhouse or sewage disposal site.
  • Never litter.
  • Pack off what you take on the water.

Minimize your impact

  • Carry the proper tools to clean up an oil or gas spill if one occurs.
  • Concentrate use in established areas and use established egress sites and boat launches.
  • Wash your boat at a car wash between lakes to minimize the transfer of species from one lake to the next.


Page Information

Updated: May 10, 2016