Marine Trail Code of Conduct E-module

Orca by M. Ryer


The Marine Trail Code of Conduct (MTCoC) was developed over several years by a researcher and volunteer team. The Code provides important information about responsible and respectful use of the British Columbia marine environment, and how you can help us preserve and protect it.

You can read more about the MTCoC on our Protecting our Coast webpage. We have both a pocket form and a long form for your perusal including Frequently Asked Questions.

Why not just use Leave No Trace principles? Our MTCoC was developed specifically for a marine environment. We also strongly incorporated respect for First Nations cultural and archaeological sites in our code.

We will be further developing short videos and content to support our MTCoC work in 2024. Stay tuned!

Our stewardship coordinator – use our Helpdesk to contact Sam, who would love to introduce you to the e-module and program. We work with businesses, colleges, and other organizations to introduce our special MTCoC.


We have developed several units on the Code with a set of questions to help you understand the content and messages throughout the Code of Conduct long document. This is a self-marking unit with answers provided. The code can be incorporated into your business, your daily paddling routines, or taught as part of a college or high school course. The lessons are:

Unit 1, Introduction to the Course

  1. Who is BC Marine Trails? What are the Three Pillars?
  2. Why we set out to build a Code of Conduct (CoC)
  3. Why is it important to uphold the CoC?
  4. Short Form and Long Form of CoC

Unit 2: Campfires | Questions & Answers

  1. Learning Objectives and Introduction
  2. Why is good campfire behaviour necessary?
  3. Campfire Impacts
  4. Best Practices
    1. Adhere to fire bans – Check Wildfire BC
    2. Fire Location: below the daily high tide line 
    3. Fuel Selection: driftwood 
    4. Discourage Fire Rings
    5. Grand Fire Master Responsibility

Unit 3: Human Waste Management | Questions & Answers

  1. Learning Objectives and Introduction
  2. Best Practices
    1. Cat Holes (inland campling, not recommended for coastal sites)
    2. Toilets
    3. Lowest Intertidal Flush 
    4. Pack Out
      1. Boombox
      2. Pack out bags
  1. Unit 4: First Nation Territory Visitation | Questions & Answers
    1. Learning Objectives and Introduction
    2. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
    3. Article 32: respecting each First Nation territory’s decisions 
    4. Cultural Features and their considerations
      1. Middens and Recreational Considerations
      2. Clam Gardens and Recreational Considerations
        1. Clam Garden Network
      3. Intangible Cultural Features
        1. BC Marine Trails – Map and FN Info Box shows openings, closures, fees
    5. Additional Resources
      1. Nanwakolas Council Respectful Behaviour
      2. Kitasoo/Xai’xais Camping Stewardship (updating link)
      3. Maa-nulth Final Agreement
      4. Haida Gwaii Pledge
      5. Maaqtusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society
      6. Native Land ArcGiS Program
      7. Mamalilikulla Respectful Recreation Storyboard
      8. Indigenous Guardian Program
  1. Unit 5: Wildlife and Attractants | Questions & Answers
    1. Learning Objectives and Introduction
    2. Marine Mammal Viewing Regulations/ Whale Wise Guidelines 
      1. Seals
      2. Sea Lions
      3. Humpback Whales
      4. Killer Whales
    3. Terrestrial Animals/ WildSafeBC
      1. “Bare” Camping, Bears, Wolves, Cougars, Rats
    4. Recreational Consideration – Managing Wildlife Attractants
      1. Food Storage
      2. Grey Water

Additional Unit: BE a Coastal Caretaker VOICE


    1. Visiting sites: Visit your favourite local site(s) often or plan an adventure to visit a portion of BC Marine Trails’ more remote sites. BC Marine Trails has a map and trip planning tools to assist you. 
    2. Observing changes and impacts: As you walk around your site, observe and take notes about signs of human impact that may detract from the natural state of the site (marine debris, fire rings, temporary structures, human waste). Remember to look up for any natural hazards like broken, but still hanging branches or angled trees that might come down with the next windstorm. Also look down to appreciate evidence of special plants, flowers, shells, and/or animal tracks. Check the condition of any site-user structures like picnic tables, tent platforms, outhouses or shelters.
    3. Interacting with other visitors: As a Coastal Caretaker, you represent BC Marine Trails and your actions model our Code of Conduct.  Talk with other site visitors and share information about the efforts you are making to reduce human impact and protect the natural state of the site. Remember, we are volunteers. We can model and talk about respectful recreation and low-impact practices but we are not enforcement officers.  
    4. Caretaking to keep the site natural: Here are a few caretaking actions that help  keep the site welcoming and natural for future visitors: Dismantle fire rings, scatter the ashes and spread out the rocks; Dismantle driftwood structures to discourage future site alteration; If safe to do so, use hand tools to define public use areas and trails by removing branches, small fallen trees or brush. Do not dig or alter the soil, as you may disturb cultural and natural features; Collect marine debris and store it above the high tide line or if you have space, take it with you. If you are unsure if the debris is safe, leave it. For larger debris, take photos, and report to BC Marine Trails.
    5. Exchanging data: Your visits to BC Marine Trails sites are an important link in how we connect, protect, and preserve the coastline for public recreation both now and in the future. The information that you share with us is key to keeping our map and site information current. Please be sure to complete the BCMT Site Condition Report (SCR).

If you download the ArcGIS Survey 123 app and the site condition reports before leaving, you can complete these even while offline. If you have internet service, you can connect via the web application. Alternatively, email us your information at along with your site visit date.