Abandoned boats and wrecks
From Transport Canada
Learn what to do in case you find an abandoned boat or wreck and what to do if you want to keep it.
On this page
- Why are abandoned boats and wrecks a problem?
- If you find an abandoned boat or wreck
- If you want to keep an abandoned boat or salvage a wreck
- Abandoned Boats Program
Why are abandoned boats and wrecks a problem?
When boating in Canada's waterways or along its coastlines, you may see abandoned boats and wrecks. These abandoned boats and wrecks can pose a number of problems. They could block other boats from passing or boaters may not see them in time to avoid a crash. They may leak and pollute the water and harm people. If they are near public areas, they can pose safety issues.
If you find an abandoned boat or wreck
The first step if you find an abandoned boat or wreck is to determine who to tell. This depends if the boat is causing a threat to public safety, the environment or navigation.
The boat or wreck poses an immediate and serious threat to public safety
If there is a threat to safety such as a fire, explosion or suspicious activity:
- Call Local Police or 911
The boat or wreck poses a potential, actual or immediate threat to the environment
If there is a threat to the environment, such as leaking oil:
- Call the Canadian Coast Guard – all lines are open 24 hours a day
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island: 1-800-565-1633
Ontario, Nunavut: 1-800-265-0237
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories: 1-800-889-8852
The boat or wreck poses a potential, actual or immediate threat to navigation
If there is a threat to safe navigation (because it makes navigation dangerous or blocks other boats from a passage)
- Call a Transport Canada Navigation Protection Program regional office nearest you
If you want to keep an abandoned boat or salvage a wreck
Taking possession of an abandoned boat before it becomes a wreck saves time and money. However, if the boat or wreck has heritage or military value, don’t touch it. Contact the Transport Canada regional office closest to where you live.
If you find and want an abandoned boat or wreck that doesn’t have heritage or military value:
- Contact the owner if you know them
- Use these tips to locate the owner if you don’t know them
If you can’t find the owner, contact Transport Canada for information and help.
For more information about claiming wrecks, please visit our Receiver of Wreck frequently asked questions page.
Abandoned Boats Program
It is possible that you may require financial assistance to properly dispose of an abandoned boat or salvage a wreck. You may be eligible for the Abandoned Boats Program (ABP) which provides federal funding for the removal and disposal of abandoned and/or wrecked small boats, for education and awareness activities, and for research on boat recycling and design.