abandonedboatsAbandoned and neglected boats impact the health and safety of our shorelines, especially if fuel, chemicals or garbage are leaking into the marine environment.

Program Details

In December 2016 the CRD Board directed staff to initiate and coordinate a consistent, regional approach to deal with abandoned vessels. In early 2017, the federal government also announced a 5-year Abandoned Boats Program (ABP) to support local initiatives to clean up coastal waters. CRD staff then organized several regional meetings, gathered information regarding vessels that appeared abandoned throughout our region, then successfully applied for funding through two components of the Abandoned Boats Program.

  • The Education, Awareness and Research component funded public education projects aimed at raising awareness about boat owner responsibility, including proper end-of-life management practices. CRD received $50,000 from this fund in 2018 for a campaign to increase public awareness about the environmental and safety risks posed by abandoned boats across the region. Information about proper end of life best practices, recycling and disposal options for old boats and how and where to report abandoned boats was distributed at boat and fishing shows, through regular media outlets and by social media. Information was provided about the new federal Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act.
  • The Assessment and Removals component funded boat removal assessments, and the permanent removal and disposal of abandoned and/or wrecked small boats. The CRD received $26,575 from this fund to assess the condition and removal costs of 17 vessels identified as abandoned in Tsehum and Sooke Harbours.

In addition to the federal funding, the CRD committed over $300,000 to cover the cost of removing and disposing of over 70 abandoned boats in our region as of March 2020. The federal program covered 75% of the removal costs, and CRD solid waste reserve funding was used to cover the remaining 25%. The CRD worked with community partners (Dead Boats Disposal Society and Salish Sea Industries) to assess, remove and dispose of these boats from our harbours.

To supplement the federal program, the CRD also approved funding to handle the disposal of marine debris associated with abandoned boats (e.g. old wharves, flotation, ropes and miscellaneous flotsam and jetsam).

Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act

Under this act, you may not:

  • Abandon your vessel
  • Cause it to become a wreck because you fail to maintain it
  • Sink, strand or ground your vessel on purpose
  • Leave your vessel in poor condition in the same area for more than 60 consecutive days within a radius of 3 nautical miles without the authorization of the location owner
  • Leave your vessel adrift for more than 48 hours without taking measures to secure it

Infractions can lead to fines up to $50,000 for individuals, and $250,000 for companies or corporations.

For more information:

Have a boat you no longer want?

You've got a few options for disposal in the capital region:

  • Donate your boat to a worthy cause:
  • If your boat is beyond repair, you can recycle most of its parts. Visit to see how and where you can recycle everything from oily bilge water and propane tanks to engines and electronics (but make sure you're aware of any hazardous materials on board before you start taking things apart).
  • Boats free of hazardous materials, prohibited items and recyclable materials can be disposed of at Hartland Landfill following the instructions outlined below.

Common hazards on boats

Protect yourself and the environment.

Some boat components may contain asbestos, lead, PCBs or other hazardous materials which can be harmful to your health. Just like when you begin a renovation at home, precautions are needed to ensure that these materials are handled and disposed of safely.

Before you start taking things apart, a hazardous materials survey may be required to identify any potential materials that may be harmful to your health or require special disposal.

Some common materials in boats that contain asbestos include:

  • Window caulking/putty
  • Electrical wire insulation/wrap
  • Linoleum/vinyl sheet flooring
  • Gaskets
  • Sealants/adhesives

Other hazardous materials (hazardous waste) may include:

  • PCB light ballast (fixtures)
  • Hull paint (containing heavy metals)
  • Lead painted surfaces

How to safely dispose of your boat

  1. Learn how to dispose of your boat waste. Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are accepted at Hartland Landfill by appointment only. ACM must be double-bagged in approved UN-rated 6 mil poly asbestos bags (available at safety supply stores). Read more >>
  2. Determine if your boat's paint contains heavy metals. Leachable metal paints are prohibited from Hartland Landfill by provincial regulation, requiring disposal through a hazardous waste contractor. A qualified professional can collect samples to determine if your boat can be accepted at Hartland.
  3. Apply for a controlled waste permit. Once you've removed and properly disposed of recyclables and any hazardous materials, the remainder of your boat is eligible for disposal at Hartland Landfill. Email for a disposal permit and/or testing instructions. Once you have obtained a permit, call Hartland Landfill at 250.360.3410 to make an appointment for disposal.

What can you do?

If you see a vessel that appears abandoned or wrecked that is onshore, afloat or sunk, please call the Canadian Coast Guard Marine Pollution Hotline at 1.800.889.8852.

Helpful information includes:

  • Exact location
  • Vessel name and description
  • License number or other identifier
  • How long it’s been in that location
  • Photos