Bringing your boat to BC
The Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia is the last part of North America that is still free of invasive zebra and quagga mussels. These invasive freshwater mussels cause major impacts to the environment, and also foul infrastructure like hydropower, agricultural irrigation systems, and municipal water supplies. Should zebra or quagga mussels become established in the Province the economic impacts to hydro facilities, water supplies, irrigation and recreational boaters is estimated at $43M annually (Robinson et al. 2013 and Ministry of Agriculture). The main vector for the spread of these mussels is by watercraft transported overland between waterbodies. Mussels can settle within hours on boats, and when newly attached are as small as quarter of a grain of rice, additionally any standing lake water can carry free swimming microscopic larvae. The mussels and larva both can survive up to 30 days on a boat out of water. In order to prevent the introduction BC launched the Invasive Mussel Defence Program which conducts mandatory watercraft inspections and decontaminations.
The BC Invasive Mussel Defence Program wants to work with all boaters to minimize the impacts on their recreational activities while protecting BC waters from the introduction of invasive mussels. Any boats that are coming from an infested jurisdiction must be inspected prior to launching into BC waters. If the boat has been out of the water more than 30 days and found to be CLEANED, DRAINED and DRIED during inspection it will be free to launch into BC waters.
If the boat has been out of the water less than 30 days it will require inspection and decontamination, and if no invasive mussels or standing water is found it will be free to launch into BC waters. However if any signs of invasive mussels or standing water is found on the watercraft it will not be allowed to launch into BC waters until the 30 day drying period has been completed. Please see the watercraft risk assessment flow chart below for further information.
Our inspection stations will be stopping and conducting inspections on all boats entering the province. In order to streamline the process and minimize the impact to your travel time, we are requesting a notification of all watercraft that are being transported into B.C. If you bring a boat into BC from an infested jurisdiction (see table below) please fill out this form and email it to the contact on the form or call the BC Invasive Mussel Program Co-ordinator at 250-208-6520. The key information needed is:
Provinces and States listed as contaminated under Schedule 5 of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation (October 2014).