The Government of Canada announces projects to remove abandoned boats from Canadian waters

News release

January 16, 2024           Vancouver, BC           Transport Canada

Abandoned and wrecked vessels can be harmful to the environment and to public safety. Through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, the federal government made abandoning your vessel illegal in Canada and it is taking action to remove abandoned and wrecked vessels from our waters and protecting our coasts and waterways.

Today, Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez announced up to $1.6 million for eight projects which will assess, remove, and dispose of 34 abandoned and wrecked vessels in Canadian waters. The organizations that will receive funding are:

  • Salish Sea Industrial Services
  • Rugged Coast Research Society
  • Gibsons Marine Transport Ltd.
  • Freedom Diving Systems Ltd. 
  • Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

Abandoned boats in Canada (for example, recreational and small commercial fishing vessels) have economic and environmental impacts on local communities. They can pollute the marine ecosystem, damage infrastructure, interfere with navigation and pose a safety risk to Canadians.

The Oceans Protection Plan is a Canadian success story. When Indigenous Peoples, industry, communities, scientists, and government work together to protect our environment, grow our economy, and support good jobs across the country, we deliver real results. The Oceans Protection Plan is keeping our oceans and coasts healthy, advancing reconciliation, and building a clean future for everyone.


“Wrecked and abandoned boats cause significant safety and environmental hazards, and we’re taking action through the Abandoned Boats Program to work towards the assessment, removal, and safe disposal of these boats. We made it illegal to abandon boats in Canada, and we’re partnering with local communities and boat owners to keep our navigable waters safe and clean.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

“The Canadian Coast Guard is proud of the important work it does with Transport Canada to reduce hazards posed by abandoned and wrecked vessels, so that waterways remain safe and enjoyable for everyone. This investment into the Abandoned Boats Program will help further reduce the number of legacy problem vessels in Canadian waters. Every vessel removed is another step towards protecting and nurturing the delicate marine environment, which is one of our main priorities under the Oceans Protection Plan."

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

"Abandoned, wrecked or hazardous boats are more than just eyesores floating in our waters, they pose a threat to the environment, to our health and safety, and to costal economies. With a $1.6 million investment from the Abandoned Boats Program, we are removing 34 problem vessels from British Columbian waters, including by working with committed partners like Gibsons Marine and Freedom Diving Systems to remove problem vessels from the Sunshine Coast. Through the Abandoned Boats Program, the Oceans Protection Plan and other initiatives, the Government of Canada is dedicated to restoring our oceans to a clean and healthy state, that supports thriving marine life, and coastal communities.”

Patrick Weiler
Member of Parliament for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country

Quick facts

  • The Abandoned Boats Program is part of the Government of Canada’s National Strategy to Address Wrecked and Abandoned Vessels, which introduced multiple measures to reduce the number of abandoned and wrecked vessels that pose hazards in Canadian waters and support the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems.

  • Through the Oceans Protection Plan‘s Abandoned Boats Program, funding has been approved for the removal of 223 boats since 2017.

  • In 2022, the Abandoned Boats Program received additional funding of $4.3 million under the renewed Oceans Protection Plan, including $3.7 million over three years to support the assessment, removal, and safe disposal of abandoned and wrecked, vessels in Canadian waters. Of that amount, $1.6 million is available in the 2023-24 fiscal year for the assessment and removal of abandoned or wrecked vessels.

  • Communities, particularly those which are small and remote, often do not have the financial resources necessary to remove and dispose of abandoned and wrecked vessels. This funding will provide local communities with the resources they need to remove these vessels from Canadian waterways.

  • In addition to the Abandoned Boats Program, Canada’s National Strategy to Address Wrecked and Abandoned Vessels also includes the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act and the Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program

  • In 2019, the Government of Canada took a significant step to address these concerns by enacting the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act. A key measure under the Oceans Protection Plan, this Act allows Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard to take action against cases of abandoned, wrecked, or hazardous vessels on our waterways.   

  • On September 27, 2023, Transport Canada issued an administrative monetary penalty in the amount of $26,600 to the owner of the Spirit of Kelowna, located in Shuswap Lake, British Columbia, for failing to comply with prohibitions against vessel abandonment under the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act.    

  • The funding announced today is part of the Government of Canada’s Budget 2022 commitment to provide $2 billion over nine years to renew Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan and expand its work into new areas.

Associated links


Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa  

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Page details

Date modified: