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Did You Know?

Recreational boating is a fun and exciting pastime, BUT, did you know that you could be inadvertently transporting small invasive species on your boat to a new lake or river?

Species like zebra mussels, for instance, can attach to the hard surfaces on boats, motors, or trailers or small fragments of plants, while microscopic species like spiny waterfleas can be transferred in surface water moved by your boat through the bilge, motor, live-well, and transom wells. When it comes to aquatic vegetation, small fragments of plants can easily become stuck on watercraft equipment like trailers, the motor, and the transducers. 

To prevent watercraft users from transporting aquatic invasive species, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry (MNRF) has regulated watercrafts (i.e., boats, canoes, and kayaks) and watercraft equipment as “carriers” under Ontario’s Invasive Species Act,  effective January 1, 2022.

These regulations exist to ensure that watercraft users of all kinds, whether recreational or professional, do not transport invasive organisms between waterways. These new boater pathway regulations are a legal requirement and align with the first two steps of “Clean, Drain, Dry”.

What You Need to Do

Before transporting a watercraft or watercraft equipment overland, before reaching a boat launch, and before launching into any Ontario waterbody:

  • Clean your boat and all related equipment before leaving the waterbody and ensure it is clean before entering a new one. Remove any aquatic plants, animals, or algae stuck in or on the vessel and its equipment.
  • Drain all standing water by pulling the transom plug, draining the live-well and opening all other water-containing devices on the vessel at the boat launch.

Additionally take a look at the MNRF boaters action plan for even more information. 

Go Above and Beyond

  • Dry or disinfect your vessel. To eliminate unseen organisms, you can dry the vessel for at least 5 days in sunlight or clean it from top to bottom with hot water over 50’C or pressurized water (at least 2500 psi).
  • If you think you’ve seen an invasive species in the wild, snap a photo, note your location, and report to the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, or report online at

To learn more about these regulations and other changes to the Invasive Species Act, visit


OFAH/OMNRF Invading Species Awareness Program. (2022). Pathways – Boating. Retrieved from:
This factsheet may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes.


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