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

  • transfer of aquatic invasive species and disease
  • habitat destruction
  • wildlife disruption
  • loss of vegetation in the water and on the shore
  • soil compaction, contamination and erosion
  • water contamination

Boating responsibly

By following these simple practices, you can minimize the impacts of boating and keep Alberta's water healthy and safe for all to enjoy.

It is important to plan ahead and know the following:

  • applicable regulations
  • ground and weather conditions
  • terrain
  • your route

Know the law

Ensure you have the appropriate safety and training requirements, such as a Pleasure Craft Operator Card for any power-driven boat.

See the Government of Canada webpage for more information like:

  • Keep boat speeds under 10km/hour within 30 metres of the shoreline, and follow speed limits.
  • Know and follow the directions provided by navigational and other special buoys.

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

  • 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 $172 fine.
  • 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 a $310 fine.

Be sure that you are familiar with these laws and what your responsibilities and legal obligations are. See Clean, drain, dry your gear further details.

Be courteous and respectful

  • Watch your wake. Keep motorized water sports far from shore to prevent erosion and protect nests from being swamped.
  • Keep music and boat noise to a minimum.

Leave what you find

Don't disturb:

  • archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest, such as rock paintings
  • 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 launch sites.
  • Clean, drain, dry your boat and gear on the shoreline before moving to another waterbody to minimize the transfer of aquatic invasive species and diseases.

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