Cowichan Lake & River Stewardship Society


Lake Use and the Law

There are laws which govern the usage of the lake and river, ensuring a respectful and healthy environment for all users.  The Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Committee and the local RCMP are watching the lake and river to ensure that these laws are obeyed but everyone is encouraged to report violations. 

You can make a report to the RCMP at:

  • 250 - 749 - 6668
  • 888 - 855 - 6655

Please include the following information:

  • date and time
  • location
  • if a boat is involved then a boat description with registration number if possible
  • names of witnesses
  • photos will assist with identification


Here are the applicable laws:

Pleasure Craft Operator Card

These are legally required to operate motorized boats in Canada.   The rules and regulations are covered by Transport Canada's Safe Boating Guide (TP 511 E).  For information on obtaining a certificate, see or call 1-800-267-6687.


Safety Equipment and Life Jackets

These are required to be worn by all in the boat.


Speed Limit of 10 km/hr within 30 meters (approximately 100 feet) of shore.

This is strictly enforced to protect swimmers and limit erosion and property damage caused by boat wake.


Boat Mufflers

Muffler bypass is illegal, water exhaust must be through the propeller hub or below the cavitation plate.  Noisy boats are eligible for ticketing (CVRD Bylaw No. 3723 - Noise Control Bylaw 2013).


Towing Spotter

While pulling any person behind a boat (tubing, water skiing, wake-boarding etc.), it is a requirement that there be a spotter - and this cannot be the boat operator.


Dangerous Boating Behaviour

Dangerous boating is a criminal offence.


Fishing Licences

A licence is required for fresh water fishing in BC (see: )


Alcohol Consumption

Consumption of alcohol in any public place including in a boat is a criminal offence.  In BC, operating a boat while impaired is treated as seriously as operating a vehicle while impaired.


Littering or Polluting

Littering and polluting is illegal.   If you accidentally pollute the water or witness or see the result of someone else polluting, call 1-800-889-8852 to report it.