Bringing Your Boat to Canada?

Make Sure it's Clean and Dry
Gerry Cariou
By Gerry Cariou

Gerry Cariou is the Executive Director of Ontario's Sunset Country.

Last Updated: May 15, 2024

Guidelines for Bringing Your Boat to Canada

Aquatic invasive Species (AIS) are a present and real danger to the health of the lakes and fisheries in Ontario's Sunset Country and across Canada. Invasives such as zebra mussels, spiny water fleas and many others can easily invade our lakes and completely change the water ecosystem in just a few years. They can also completely ruin a once vibrant fishery.

The primary transfer agents for invasive species from one lake into another are watercraft and bait. For this reason, Canada is implementing a system to limit the chances of invasive species entering and damaging our waters.  It's a relatively simple system, with two underlying guidelines behind it:

  1. No Bait Importing: Importing bait - live, dead, salted etc. - is now prohibited. If you are coming to Sunset Country to fish and want to use bait, you must buy it here. There are no exceptions to this rule and the ban includes nightcrawlers, minnows, fish parts, and leeches.
  2. Clean, Dry and Decontaminate Your Boat: When crossing the US/Canada border into Canada, your boat must be clean and show no evidence of invasive species. This includes plant, fish or animal residues/parts. All drain plugs must be out including the one in your live well and any containers that hold water, such as coolers or bait buckets.

    Visiting a boat cleaning station on the US side before crossing is recommended. Keep your receipt to show the border officials if requested. The boat must be in a condition that it can be inspected so don't overload it and cover everything with stuff. Boat covers are fine as they are easily removable.

Following these two basic guidelines, you should have no issues crossing the border with your boat.

Sunset Country has an excellent fishery that needs to be protected from invasive species.

Keeping our fisheries healthy is everyone's responsibility so do your part to help.

Some Useful Resources

Make sure your boat is free of invasive species before you launch

Make sure your boat is cleaned before launching.

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