New Ontario Boating Regulations Target Invasive Species

Boaters in Ontario must now remove or open their drain plug while trailering a boat over land, and take reasonable precautions to remove all weeds, animals and algae from their boat or trailer, according to new rules that became effective January 1.

Ontario regulated watercraft (boats, canoes, kayaks) as carriers of invasive species under the Invasive Species Act, effective of January 1, 2022.

Before reaching a launch site or placing a watercraft in any body of water in Ontario, boaters must now ensure their boat, boating equipment, vehicles or trailers are free of all aquatic plants, animals or algae. It is illegal to place a boat, boating equipment or any vehicle or trailer into lake or stream if there are any aquatic plants, animals or algae attached to it. These rules recognize that it may not be possible to fully remove all aquatic plants, animals or algae (for example, hidden zebra mussels or small plant fragments in hard to reach locations) when removing the watercraft from the water at the launch site.

Boaters can do a more thorough cleaning of their boat, utilizing special equipment, such as pressure washers at a more suitable location, to ensure their boat is completely free of aquatic plants, animals and algae. The requirement to remove drain plugs does not apply to drinking water systems, including marine sanitary systems or closed engine cooling systems; and livewells, if being used to transport live fish.

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Gregg Thomas

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