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Alberta increases fine for failing to have boats inspected by 1,200%

Boaters coming through Alberta could face some huge fines if they don't stop for mandatory inspections to check for zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species. (Supplied) Boaters coming through Alberta could face some huge fines if they don't stop for mandatory inspections to check for zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species. (Supplied)
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The Alberta government is increasing fines against boaters who fail to have their watercraft inspected to prevent the spread of invasive species in the province's waterways.

Beginning June 20, anyone who fails to stop and have their boat inspected could face a fine $4,200, about a 1,200 per cent increase from the previous fine of $324.

Fines are also increasing from $180 to $600 for boaters who fail to remove a bilge plug while transporting a boat on a trailer.

Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz said it means the province will now have the highest fines in North America.

"Zebra mussels and other invasive species can devastate Alberta’s rivers, lakes and waterways," she said in a news release.

"We want everyone to take inspection and detection seriously. Alberta is currently zebra and quagga mussel free so let’s keep ’em out."

The province says reports of the organisms are increasing across Canada and the U.S. and the government needs to "use every tool possible" to stop the spread of invasive aquatic species.

"These fines will help make sure that boaters follow the rules," said Grant Hunter, Taber-Warner MLA and chair of Alberta's invasive species task force.

"The best way to prevent invasive species from getting established is for all people coming into the province to do their part by making sure their drain plug is removed and stopping at inspection stations."

Watercraft inspection stations have been mandatory in Alberta since 2015 and last year, 38 boaters were charged or given warnings to failing to stop at an open inspection station.

The province inspected 8,818 boats in 2023 and 19 had invasive mussels on their hulls.

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