OUR MISSION: Make the Muskoka lakes safer and quieter to ensure the sustainable enjoyment of a treasured shared resource
Chair’s Message
Summer has arrived! I have been cottaging for over 20 years but even so, that first dip in the lake and that first early morning kayak on calm waters thrills me! And every year I feel so thankful to be able to enjoy the beauty of Muskoka.

In our recent survey, lakeside residents shared that their top pleasures were relaxing by the dock or near the water and enjoying nature on the lake. And one of the top concerns was the impact of boat wakes on shorelines. As such we were happy when the University of Windsor asked us to help them by finding suitable locations for their study on the importance of boat wakes relative to wind waves. Thank you to all the cottagers who have volunteered to participate.

The study of wake impact is growing across North America and the University of Windsor is at the forefront of this important research. In this new study a team from the Earth Science and Computer Science departments installed small pressure transducers at cottage locations in Muskoka. They will record the wave heights and energy, along with measurements of water transparency. These will be monitored throughout the summer and we look forward to sharing their report in the fall.

Safe Quiet Lakes board directors will be out and about in the community as usual this summer. We were happy to see many of you at MLA Seedling Day and look forward to seeing many more of you at lake association AGMs and community events. Come and visit us at the MLA booth at farmers markets – we’d love to chat and get your ideas! 

Warm regards,

Diana Piquette
Chair, Safe Quiet Lakes
Diana with the University Of Windsor Wake Study Team: Jenny, Abigail and Ben.
We are turning up the volume on decibel limits
Thanks to motivated and mobilized lake communities from across Canada, large numbers of respondents signed into Transport Canada’s Let’s Talk web portal to express support for decibel limits on boat motor noise. The message was loud and clear: 89% of the total 1,000 respondents were in favour of decibel limits. Of those, 84% supported implementing performance standards for manufacturers, vessel operators, or both, to make sure vessels do not exceed decibel limits. Just 12% supported no change to current standards. The Decibel Coalition supports performance standards for both manufacturers and vessel operators. More than 2,000 comments were voiced with many indicating support for clear enforcement procedures and significant fines or penalties.

The Decibel Coalition is keeping up the pressure. We also asked our supporters to write to their MPs about decibel limits, and to date, almost 500 letters have been sent to more than 70 MPs across the country and to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Transport. Leveraging this support, the Coalition has met with several MPs and key members of the Transport Committee to advocate our position with Transport Minister Omar Alghabra. This work is ongoing. We have also had press coverage in 85 media outlets in four provinces, including this op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen. 

Read more on what you can do about loud boats and how to email your MPs

The Decibel Coalition is grateful for any support or donations to help reduce noise on the lakes. You can donate by clicking here.
Passions and pleasures: Your changing views of the lakes
As part of our mission to ensure the sustainable enjoyment of a treasured shared resource, Safe Quiet Lakes commissioned research in cooperation with more than 50 lake and resident associations to understand the spectrum and intensity of views on lake activities. The 2021 survey Your Lakes Your Views is the third broad survey undertaken by Safe Quiet Lakes and it is one of the largest lake life and boating surveys in North America.

‘Peaceful coexistence with nature and a safe place for the family to relax’

Nearly 6,000 people responded to the survey and shared their comments, underscoring the passion people feel for the lakes. Interestingly, the top three pleasures have nothing to do with boating. Participants rated the following activities at 4 or 5 out of 5:
·      96% rated swimming as a top pleasure
·      95% rated relaxing on the dock or near the water as a top pleasure
·      92% rated enjoying nature on the lake or by the shore as a top pleasure
All other major lake activities are based around a boat of some kind: 86% rated paddling, canoeing, kayaking, rowing and paddleboarding as a top pleasure, making this the most popular group of boating activities; 68% rated cruising as a core pleasure, 57% rated visiting friends and neighbours by boat as important; and 54% rated transportation/getting things from A to B as important.
Paddling is the new boating
Boating equipment and activities have changed over the years, and this strongly correlates with evolving views on enforcement, regulation and education. Since we last conducted the survey in 2013, there are significantly more kayaks and paddleboards today (up 16% and 33% respectively), and more people who rate paddling as “very important” (up 18%). While most respondents -- 91% -- have one or more powered boats, an even larger majority – 95% -- have one or more non-powered boats.

Paddling brings a unique appreciation of risk and vulnerability, and the greater number of paddlers may contribute to other trends that are apparent in 2021, including a slightly decreased sense of safety on the larger lakes and a greater openness to regulation and enforcement measures than were supported in the past.

Read more results of the Your Lakes Your Views survey.
Join us in helping to keep our waterways safe
We build partnerships to encourage conversations about respectful boating and to lead change through education and advocacy. Your donation will help drive our programs.

Have questions? Contact us at donate@safequiet.ca
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