[ Previous | Table of Contents | Next ]



Boathouses and boat ports are structures designed to shelter boats from the sun and rain and are often used to provide storage during the winter. A boathouse has walls and a front door while a boat port consists of a roof only without walls. These structures are usually built over water and may include docks on both sides to allow for boat mooring and access to deep water. Care must be exercised in site planning and design of these structures in order to avoid harmful effects owing to their scale and highly visible location in both the littoral and/or riparian zone.

Boathouses and boat ports have much the same potential impacts as docks in addition to the following:

  • A change in the visual character of the waterfront, with the introduction of a highly visible structure on the shoreline.
  • A potential to affect views from neighbouring properties.
  • Owing to their larger overall footprint, boathouses prevent sunlight from reaching the littoral and riparian zones, thereby altering the characteristics of the aquatic ecosystem.
  • The potential for more contaminants to leach into the water body (e.g. from an asphalt shingle roof).

Applications for boathouses and boatports which address the requirements of the policies are routinely approved.

© Parks Canada


  1. In addition to the submission of a detailed application to address the requirements of the boathouse and boat port policies, the proponent may be required to undertake an environmental screening to address potential environmental impacts of the proposed works, including impacts to cultural resources and other heritage values such as viewscapes.
  2. The outside dimensions of the structure including any cribs, the roof eves, attached walkway or dock must fit within an 8 m x 10 m (26 ft. x 32 ft.) rectangular area or envelope.
  3. The width of the structure parallel to the shore will be included in the 25% or 15 m (50 ft.) limit on the development of in-water works along the water frontage of a property.
  4. The maximum footprint of supporting structures is 15 m² (160 ft²).

    © Parks Canada
  5. While the structure is to be built as close as possible to the natural shoreline, a 3 m (10 ft.) open span along the shore is required to allow for along-shore current movement.
  6. A minimum of 50% of the total length of the supporting structure that extends out from the shoreline must be open span.
  7. A maximum of one boathouse attached to one lot.
  8. To minimize the visual impact of boathouses and boat ports the following design conditions will apply:
    • The roofline of double pitched or hipped roofs will be no more than 4.5 m (15 ft.) above the upper controlled navigation level. Flat roof structures will not be allowed.

      © Parks Canada
    • No services other than electricity are permitted; exterior illumination will be designed to minimize light pollution.
    • The application for a boathouse or boat port may require photographs from a variety of angles on the water and along the shoreline during the navigation season to clearly show the proposed location and setting of the structure and its relationship with the existing in-water and shoreline works and adjacent properties.
    • Proponents will use materials and colours that blend in with the surrounding landscape.
    • Elaborate buildings are generally discouraged.
    • A boathouse may have up to two openings towards the water.
  9. Proponents must provide proof that they have informed adjacent property owners of their intent to apply for permission to build a boathouse or boat port and provide them with an opportunity to comment on the application to Parks Canada.
  10. For the construction of upland boathouses, the following policies apply:
    • All excavated and dredged material must be placed upland at least
    • 15 m (50 ft.) from any watercourse, or in accordance with the requirements of another agency, whichever is greater, and must be stabilized to prevent the dredged material from re-entering the water;
    • The policies for dredging would apply if dredging is required to provide access to the boathouse;
    • The removal of upland shoreline vegetation shall be the minimal amount necessary to accommodate the installation of the new boathouse.
  11. Conversion of a boat port into a boathouse will require a new application.

    © Parks Canada

[ Previous | Table of Contents | Next ]


Date modified :