Notice of Mooring Restrictions

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Introduction

A Notice of Mooring Restrictions came into effect on May 1st, 2024 to address mooring on the Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Waterway, Ontario Waterways, under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada.

The Historic Canals Regulations and Policies for In-water and Shoreline Works and Related Activities provide the framework for the management and use of the Ontario Waterways, including those lands covered by water. The Notice of Mooring Restrictions provides that vessels may moor on the Ontario Waterways without express authorization from Parks Canada, as long as the requirements set out in the Notice and Polices are met.

The current regime for mooring at Ontario Waterway Lockstations will remain unchanged. Shoreline owners may continue to moor their vessels adjacent to their properties without the requirement for a mooring permit. Mooring of vessels at licenced marinas will not require a permit.

Vessels that do not fall under the exemption set out in the Notice will be required to have a permit to moor on the Ontario Waterways, and Parks Canada will review applications for mooring permits taking into consideration, among the other factors listed in subsection 4(1) of the Historic Canals Regulations, impacts on navigation, waterway assets, the natural environment, public safety, practice of rights by Indigenous People, enjoyment of the waterway by others as well as harmonizing comparable regulatory practices with provincial and municipal jurisdictions.  

Notice of Mooring Restrictions

WHAT: By order of the Superintendent and pursuant to Sections 4(2) and 40(4) of the Historic Canals Regulations, the following mooring restrictions apply to all waters, and their associated bed, of the Ontario Waterways Field Unit:

  • No person shall, except in accordance with a permit issued by the Superintendent, moor a vessel.

For the purposes of this notice, “mooring” holds the same meaning as “moor,” and “vessel” holds the same meaning as “vessel,” both as defined in section 2 of the Historic Canals Regulations. “Moor” means to secure a vessel to a wharf, buoy, or canal wall, or to another vessel that is so secured, and includes to beach, store or anchor a vessel. “Vessel” means in part an amphibious craft, boat, canoe, air cushion vehicle, raft, ship, or other type of floating craft.

EXEMPTIONS:

  • Self-propelled vessels engaged in navigation and properly designed/equipped for such purpose, mooring under the following conditions:
    • Between the periods of the first weekend in April and the first weekend in December.
    • For a period not exceeding 21 days in the same location (at the discretion of the Superintendent based on local circumstances).
    • In compliance with all other federal, provincial, and municipal laws, as applicable.
  • Unlimited vessel mooring over the Crown-owned bed of a navigable waterway by the owner, lessee or licenced occupier of an adjacent waterfront property providing:
    • If mooring to a structure, such as buoys, docks, boat ports, boat houses, said structure is in compliance with the Historic Canals Regulations.
    • Mooring is done in compliance with all other federal, provincial, and municipal law, as applicable.

Mooring restrictions do not apply to persons exercising their rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

WHERE: All waters, and their associated bed, constituting the Ontario Waterway Field Unit of the Parks Canada Agency described as:

  • The Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site, including the Murray Canal
  • The Rideau Canal National Historic Site, including the Tay Canal

WHY:

  • To ensure the safe navigation of vessels and reasonable rights of anchorage for all vessels
  • Protection of natural and cultural resources
  • Ensuring compliance with S.7(a) of the Historic Canals Regulation

NOTE: Violators may be charged under the Historic Canals Regulation

Considerations for Issuing a Permit for Mooring

In making a decision on whether or not to issue a permit for mooring, the Director must take into consideration the factors listed in subsection 4(1) of the Historic Canals Regulations and may take into consideration additional relevant factors, including:

The effects on:

  • Safe navigation
  • Water Management
  • Waterway assets
  • Natural Environment
  • Public Safety
  • Practice of rights by Indigenous People
  • Enjoyment of the waterway by others

As well as:

  • Harmonizing comparable regulatory practices with provincial and municipal jurisdictions.

In relation to the latter, the Director may consider the desirability for consistency with waters regulated by the Province of Ontario. In particular, the Director may decline to issue a permit for vessels, as defined in the Historic Canals Regulations, that are floating accommodations, defined as follows:

“floating accommodation” means a floating building, structure or thing, or a combination of floating buildings, structures or things, equipped or useable for overnight accommodation and not primarily designed to be used for navigation, and includes a floating building, structure or thing, or a combination of floating buildings, structures or things that,

  1. is primarily designed for or able to be used for residential purposes,
  2. is a raft, barge or floating platform that has on top of it a building, structure, vehicle, or thing that may be used for overnight accommodation, for camping purposes or as an outdoor
  3. accommodation,
  4. would reasonably be expected to require towing to be placed on public lands or is placed on public lands by means of towing or any other type of assistance,
  5. is equipped with jack-up technology or a similar mechanism used to anchor or rise above the surface of the water, with or without spud cans or
  6. has a floating foundation or a floatation platform which may include floats constructed of polystyrene, plastic, concrete or logs and stringers.

Contact

For more information please contact us by email at rideau@pc.gc.ca.

Questions and Answers

Why have new mooring restrictions been implemented?

The new mooring restrictions are primarily to ensure the safe navigation of vessels and protect our natural and cultural heritage of the Ontario Waterways. In addition, these restrictions will also ensure compliance with relevant provincial and municipal regulations.

What are these new mooring restrictions, and are they different from what we have now?

The expanded mooring restriction provides guidelines for all vessels on the Ontario Waterways. Vessels may moor without Parks Canada authorization if they fall under the exemptions set out in the restrictions. Many mooring situations remain the same and will not require a special authorization, including the current regime for mooring at Ontario Waterway Lockstations. Shoreline owners may continue to moor their vessels adjacent to their properties without the requirement for a mooring permit. Mooring of vessels at licenced marinas will also not require a permit. These measures have been put in place following a period of public consultation.

Could you clarify the terms ‘mooring’ and ‘vessel’ as mentioned in the notice?

In the context of this notice, ‘mooring’ refers to securing a vessel to a wharf, buoy, canal wall, or another similarly secured vessel. Mooring includes actions such as beaching, storing, or anchoring a vessel. ‘Vessel’ encompasses a variety of floating craft, including boats, canoes, rafts, and ships, as defined in section 2 of the Historic Canals Regulations.

Are there any exemptions to the mooring restrictions?

Yes, there are exemptions for self-propelled vessels, which are suitably equipped and engaged in navigation. These vessels may moor under specific conditions, such as between the first weekend in April and the first weekend in December, for a maximum of 21 days in the same location, and in compliance with all relevant regulations. Additionally, owners (including lessees and licensees) of adjacent waterfront properties may moor over the Federal bed, provided the required conditions are met.

How do I know if my vessel is exempt?

‘Vessel’ means in part an amphibious craft, boat, canoe, air cushion vehicle, raft, ship, or another type of floating craft. Parks Canada is seeing an increase in vessels that do not fall under this description and, therefore, require a mooring permit. In particular, the Director may deny a mooring permit for structures identified as floating accommodations. As per the province of Ontario’s regulations under the Public Lands Act, Parks Canada defines ‘floating accommodations’ as

  • means a floating building, structure or thing, or a combination of floating buildings, structures or things, equipped or useable for overnight accommodation and not primarily designed to be used for navigation, and includes a floating building, structure or thing, or a combination of floating buildings, structures or things that;
  • is primarily designed for or able to be used for residential purposes,
  • is a raft, barge or floating platform that has on top of it a building, structure, vehicle, or thing that may be used for overnight accommodation, camping purposes or as an outdoor accommodation,
  • would reasonably be expected to require towing to be placed on public lands or is placed on public lands by means of towing or any other type of assistance,
  • is equipped with jack-up technology or a similar mechanism used to anchor or rise above the surface of the water, with or without spud cans or
  • has a floating foundation or a floatation platform, which may include floats constructed of polystyrene, plastic, concrete or logs and stringers.
What areas are encompassed by the mooring restrictions within the Ontario Waterways?

The mooring restrictions apply to the Federal beds of the waterbodies of the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site, including the Murray Canal, and the Rideau Canal National Historic Site, including the Tay Canal.

How can I apply for a permit to moor a vessel that is not considered exempt?

Individuals seeking a permit for mooring must submit an application to Parks Canada. Under the direction of the Director of Ontario Waterways, applications will be reviewed in consideration of subsection 4(1) of the Historic Canals Regulations and other relevant information. For more information on applying for a mooring permit, please email on-rc-cr.permits-permis@pc.gc.ca.

What factors does the Director consider when evaluating permit applications for mooring?

In review of mooring permit applications, many factors and conditions are considered. These include, but are not limited to, safe navigation, water management, asset management, natural and cultural heritage, public safety, Indigenous rights, and users’ enjoyment of the Waterway. Additionally, coordination with provincial and municipal regulations is a consideration.

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