All boats must comply with the Small Vessel Regulations. Contact the Coast Guard website for information on the Small Vessel Regulations. Use of personal watercraft is prohibited in national parks.

Recreational boating is permitted on the northern portion of Pine Lake .

Boater on Pine Lake
Boater on Pine Lake

Motorboat travel is permitted along the major river corridors which are classified as Zone 4 Recreation. These include: Athabasca River, Embarras River, Rivière des Rochers, Quatre Fourches River, Peace River and Slave River. Only experienced river travellers should attempt to travel by boat on the major river systems of the park as many natural hazards exist. Motorized boats are not permitted on Lakes Claire or Mamawi except with Park Use permits or licensed park guides.

Many natural hazards exist on the major river corridors of Wood Buffalo National Park. Boaters should be prepared to encounter potential hazards such as:

  • high water events resulting in large amounts of debris, including submerged deadheads
  • low water events resulting in unmarked shallow areas (mudflats, sandbars, or rock reefs)
  • adverse weather conditions (high winds, storms, etc.)
  • unmarked or poorly marked channels
  • presence of mudbars, sandbars, and underwater rock reefs.

Other known hazards include the following:

  • Boyer Rapids on the Peace River
  • Demicharge Rapids on the Slave River
  • Rock weir at Little Rapids on the Rivière des Rochers. Boats must be portaged around the weir with a winch that is operated by Alberta Environmental Protection. Boaters should be aware that the battery-operated winch may be inoperable at times due to low charge.
  • *Slave River Rapids on the Slave River. River travellers MUST PUT OUT at Fort Fitzgerald as these rapids are non-navigable.

Contact the Visitor Reception Centre in Fort Smith or Fort Chipewyan for further information on boating in the park. Park use permits are required for any overnight stays in the backcountry.

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