What to do if You Spot an Abandoned Boat or Wreck

(NC) Have you ever been at the beach or on the water and seen something that wasn't supposed to be there, but didn't know what to do or who to call? Learn what to do if you come across a boat that appears abandoned, derelict or wrecked.

It is important to understand the risks these problem boats can pose. They can potentially threaten the marine environment and ecosystems if there are oil and other hazardous substances leaking, or not be structurally sound or secure and present health and safety risks.

To help keep Canadian waters clean and to protect aquatic life, the Government of Canada will enhance marine safety and enable the Canadian Coast Guard to better respond to marine pollution incidents.

The Oceans Protection Plan also provides a comprehensive strategy for dealing with abandoned, derelict and wrecked boats in Canadian waters. The strategy includes new legislation that puts the responsibility and liability on owners to properly remove and dispose of their boats when they reach end-of-life. It calls for improvements in identifying boat owners so they can be held accountable more easily. Education and outreach activities will also be developed to inform vessel owners of their responsibilities and liabilities.

Chances are you may not run into a large shipwreck, but you may come across smaller ones. These pose risks to coastal communities, so the federal government will be working with governments and marine partners to remove them from our waterways.

You can also do your part to help — be sure to properly remove and dispose of any old boats you no longer need. This could include taking the boat you no longer use to a boat retailer, a recycle depot or a landfill.

If you spot any kind of problem boat or vessel on open waters, be sure to contact the Canadian Coast Guard, which has trained response teams available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to lead responses to marine pollution incidents. Find your local Canadian Coast Guard phone number at www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/emergency-numbers-hub.

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