See an Abandoned Boat? Please Say Something

Abandoned and neglected boats impact the health and safety of our shorelines, especially if fuel, chemicals or garbage are leaking into the marine environment. If you see a boat that looks abandoned, please let us know.

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: Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) or Disabled Sailing Association of BC; 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).
  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 is the abandoned boat program?

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, and applied for funding through the Abandoned Boats Program.

The Abandoned Boat Program has two components:

The Education, Awareness and Research component funds public education projects aimed at raising awareness about boat owner responsibility, including proper end-of-life management practices. It also funds research on environmentally responsible boat design and recycling of end-of-life boats.

The Assessment and Removals component funds boat removal assessments, and the permanent removal and disposal of abandoned and/or wrecked small boats.
In March 2018 the CRD learned that it will receive federal funding from both components of this program, including $50,000 to help increase public awareness about the environmental and safety risks posed by abandoned boats across the region.

With this funding, the CRD will be able to ask residents for help identifying derelict vessels and ultimately reduce the volume of abandoned boats littering our waterways in the future through responsible boat ownership education, including end-of-life best practices and recycling and disposal options.

CRD staff are working closely with municipalities, regional districts, Islands Trust and local First Nations to coordinate efforts that address abandoned boats under the federal ABP initiative, including this newly-funded education program.

In addition to the $50,000 grant, the CRD also learned that it will receive $10,400 in federal funding to assess the condition and removal costs of 10 vessels identified as abandoned in Tsehum Harbour on the Saanich Peninsula. These boats must be assessed by March 31, after which CRD staff will apply again to the ABP for funding to remove and dispose of them.

Additional applications for both assessment and disposal funding will be made on an ongoing basis as abandoned or derelict vessels are identified across the region.

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

May 6, 2019 10:19 AM

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