I have an old boat that’s worthless (not worth repairing). What can
I do with it? How do I dispose of it?
—The Sea Captain
Contact your municipality or the association in your province that represents marinas. Some landfills will take boats, provided you remove any hazardous materials (oil, fuel, and metal parts).
Similarly, some marinas and marine companies have recycling programs. Recycle My Boat in B.C. will dispose of your old boat (for a fee), dismantle it, remove anything salvageable, such as scrap metal—this could fetch you some cash—and safely dispose of what’s left.
Or you may be able to dispose of your old boat by donating it to charity. Kidney Car, a program through the Kidney Foundation of Canada, will sometimes take boats (also RVs and motorcycles). The foundation gets your runabout, you get a tax receipt, and kidney research gets more funding. Win.
Don’t abandon your boat. That’s littering in a giant way. And don’t try to unload it on some unsuspecting sucker through Craigslist. (“Free boat?! Hell yes.”) This is the “number one thing that people try to do,” says Recycle My Boat’s founder, George Coman.
“Some of the ads are quite ridiculous.” Not only is that duplicitous, it may come back to bite you: if the boat’s registration is still in your name, you could be held responsible for what happens to it, no matter where it’s sitting.
Canada currently has no government boat-recycling programs in place, says Sara Anghel, the executive director and vice-president of government relations with the National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada.
However, Transport Canada has introduced the Abandoned Boats Program which provides grant and contribution funding to assist in the removal of abandoned and/or wrecked small boats posing a hazard in Canadian waters.