British Columbia now requires boat owners to clean, drain and dry due to risk of whirling disease

Whirling Disease

May 28, 2024

We have learnt through social media that British Columbia’s chief veterinarian has issued an order making it illegal to transport boats or other watercraft without removing the drain plug to prevent the spread of whirling disease.

The Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship says the order took effect Friday and is also intended to keep invasive mussels out of B.C. waterways.

Boat operators are being required to clean, drain and dry all watercraft and remove all mud, sand and plants before leaving the shore.

Vessels will also have to dry out for at least 24 hours before entering new waters.

Whirling disease causes deformities in fish and has a high mortality rate but poses no health risk to people swimming in or drinking water that contains the parasite responsible for the condition.

The ministry says inspectors will be checking watercraft for compliance with the new orders.

The first case of whirling disease in B.C. was confirmed in Yoho National Park in December 2023 and all water bodies in the park have been closed until March next year.

There is no treatment to eradicate the disease.

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