Le Boat says it is not the source of contaminant in Smiths Falls Victoria Park basin

LeBoat Docks, Smiths Falls.
Le Boat vessels are lined up in the Victoria Basin in Smiths Falls. The Canadian market is expanding this year to the Trent-Severn Waterway with a homebase in Peterborough. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.
Posted on: May 22, 2024

Luxury cruise line expands to Trent-Servern Waterway this summer


A contaminant spill near the Le Boat docks in Smiths Falls caused some fast action on Saturday as the luxury cruise line staff alerted the appropriate parties to help clean it up. 

Lisa McLean, marketing manager, long haul markets, North America, Australia, South Africa, Asia and Latin America, told this publication that the spill didn’t come from any of their vessels. 

“We don’t have much to tell you because it wasn’t a Le Boat spill,” McLean stated on Tuesday, May 21. “We confirmed with our staff and no one did anything in error. They followed all procedures when it comes to fuelling.”

McLean said they worked closely with the Smiths Falls Fire Department, “to make sure the contaminant was contained,” she said. “We also took action and contacted a local environmental company to also help clean up the contaminant.”

McLean said she still doesn’t know where it came from (as of Tuesday, May 21).


Smiths Falls fire Chief Rick Chesebrough said they too are unsure where the contaminant came from. “We cannot confirm if it was from Le Boat or not,” Chesebrough told this publication on May 21. “The spill is believed to be diesel. There was a huge sheen on the water.”

The chief said he’s not aware of any charges being laid due to the spill, but his crews left the scene prior to the environmental team coming in to clean up the spill. “It is my understanding that Le Boat contracted a company to clean up the spill,” he said. 

Concerns of the environment and waterway are at top of mind for them, McLean said, as they worked together to clean up the spill.

“It was a really small containment, but they know it wasn’t a Le Boat over-fuel, or staff error, (and) we were happy to help with the clean-up.”

Over the past two seasons, Le Boat had a spill of diesel fuel into the basin while refueling a vessel. Staff was required after last year’s incident in July to take additional training to ensure this didn’t happen again, McLean said. 

“We do have the fuel cap and water cap painted different colours. We implemented some new fueling procedures. All of our new staff have been trained differently as well, too,” she explained. “We had them do spill action training – some extra precautions to make sure there isn’t staff error or fueling issues.”

McLean said their staff didn’t know what time the spill had happened as they showed up for work at 8:30 a.m. on May 18, “then the fire department came on site at 9 a.m. We too were not aware of why they were there. It was either a minor spill or contaminant in the waterway. We had the same questions as everybody else.”

She said they didn’t get into a debate about the issue on social media, where photos of the clean-up were posted in Smiths Falls group chats. 

“We don’t comment on social media,” McLean said. “There has been a lot of vandalism against Le Boat recently, too. We don’t know if it was local vandalism so we did let the authorities know what vandalism happened along the Rideau Canal.” 

McLean said there was some “graffiti put on one of our buildings down below, and recently, at the lower lock there was graffiti on one of the buildings that we lease from Parks Canada.” 

Parks Canada has been asked to clean off the graffiti, McLean said. 

An inquiry to the Smiths Falls Police Service noted that the town had “quite a bit of targeted graffiti that was investigated, charges laid,” noted Acting Chief Jodi Empey in an email May 21. If it was the same graffiti that had been on a white storage shed for the past couple months, “they were advised of it by the town to clean it up.”


Le Boat has also just moved eight of the fleet of 32 boats to Trent-Severn Waterway with a base camp in Peterborough for the 2024 boating season.

“We’re now open on the Trent-Severn,” McLean said. “We opened on May 17, so it’s too early to tell how that is going.”

She said they’re hoping to expand in the Canadian market, but the boat builders aren’t building new vessels until 2025. 

“Dock space became available along the Trent-Severn, so we took the opportunity to launch a test model for this year and when new boats are available, we’re hoping to get more from the global team,” McLean said. “We took some of the boats from the fleet in Smiths Falls. We have been investigating other canals in Canada and were excited that a marina became available for use for Le Boat, so we took the opportunity to do a test pilot this year.”

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News