To support government’s efforts to prevent invasive species, British Columbia’s chief veterinarian has issued an order making it illegal to transport watercraft in British Columbia with the drain plug still in place, as of May 17, 2024.

“This order is part of our ongoing actions to contain and prevent further spread of whirling disease and keep invasive mussels out of B.C. waterways,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “Beginning May 17, 2024, boat operators in British Columbia are required to pull the plug before moving a boat or any equipment between water bodies.”

Before transporting a boat or other watercraft, owners/operators must remove the drain plug and drain all water on dry land, including all internal compartments, such as ballasts, bilges and live wells.

The first case of whirling disease in B.C. was confirmed in Yoho National Park in December 2023 (Columbia River Watershed). It can be transmitted through spores that attach to equipment used for swimming, paddling, boating, water pumping, fishing, pets, or through infected fish (alive or dead) and fish parts. There is currently no treatment available to eradicate whirling disease. There are no health concerns for people swimming in or drinking water that contains whirling disease.

Read the complete advisory notice.


The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce advocates for sustainable solutions to the threat of invasive aquatic species and is actively engaged with the Okanagan Basin Water Board.