OUR MISSION: Make the Muskoka lakes safer and quieter to ensure the sustainable enjoyment of a treasured shared resource

August 2022 Newsletter

Chair’s Message

Thank you to everyone who wrote to me over the past month! We received so many positive responses to our last newsletter. Many sharing their experiences on the water, some insightful questions on boating regulations – and many who kindly thanked us for our work. I have included one of those responses below.

We also received a few questions and comments on buoys and the boating rules of the road. For those who asked for more clarification: as a general rule red markers should be on your right (starboard side) and green on your left (port side) when you are returning to a port or going upstream towards the source of the water for both rivers and lakes. If going downstream (away from the source of the water) the red should be on your left and green on your right. The rules on upstream/downstream and returning to port scenarios can be confusing. To make correct choices you will need to know which way the water flows.

For those who wanted more on the rules of the water - here is a link to a helpful short video: https://youtube/qqFKUaMpdXA 

Enjoy the rest of your summer and please continue to send us your thoughts, comments and questions! chair@safequiet.ca

Warm regards,

Diana Piquette

Chair, Safe Quiet Lakes

Letter to Chair:

Following up on your article about power boat training, my wife and I just

completed a boating session with Bill Jennings at our cottage and I wanted to

thank you profusely for the recommendation in your July 2022 Newsletter.

We found his session to be informative, instructive and confidence-building and

my wife and I came away feeling much more confident in our ability to safely

operate our “big boat” in more travelled waters - a pleasure we have mostly

avoided up to this point out of an abundance of caution and respect for others. I

have been contemplating doing this for years but never knew where to start.

Once again thanks for that great tip and we truly appreciate what you and your

team is doing in trying to drum up awareness for respecting our waterways and

the gift that Muskoka brings to us all.

Rick & Claire


In popular boating areas it is important that boat operators are aware of the potential impact of their wake. Evidence has shown that in waterways such as lakes, bays and rivers, where wave energy tends to be low, boat wakes directly striking banks impacts shore erosion, causing trees and banks to topple. Wakes and prop wash can also churn up lake sediment, degrading the aquatic environment for plants and animals.

Through research conducted in Canada, United States, Australia, Germany and elsewhere, we are gaining a better understanding of how wakes work, and why different wakes have different impacts. Every craft moving on the water leaves a wake created with the displacement of water by the boat hull. Vessel size, hull shape, speed and water depth all influence wake patterns and energy. For example, in shallow waters, wake waves slow down as they hit bottom, spreading out and stirring up the lake or riverbed. At planing speeds, wakes are moving faster, further and travelling outward -- when running parallel to shore, wave energy directly hits the banks. 

Recent research at the University of Minnesota compared wake height, energy and power from traditional recreational boats and wakesurf boats under various boat running conditions. Under both slow and fast speeds wakesurf boats produced the largest wakes in terms of height, energy and power, and their wakes need to travel a greater distance to dissipate. 

The data indicated that wakesurf boats running in the most typical mode of operation require distances greater than 500 feet from shore, docks and other boats to decrease their wake wave characteristics to levels similar to non-wakesurf boats. The research is a benchmark for understanding distances from shore for wake impacts from boating. 

The reason for the more powerful waves from wakesurf boats is due to boat design. They are heavier to create greater displacement and larger waves, with a V-shaped hull for longer, more powerful waves. They have powerful engines to move all that weight and are equipped with various wave technologies such as ballasts to add even more weight, hydrofoil and wave shapers.

Safe Quiet Lakes advocates reducing the effects of wakes on the lakes. You have told us through surveys and outreach this is a top issue, and we are monitoring the latest research and news to keep you informed. Check out our Be #WakeAware video and website and watch for future wake articles in upcoming newsletters.


On a recent Saturday night in Muskoka, near the locks in Port Carling, boaters gathered to watch an outdoor showing of the film Grease with the late Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. It was a fun family event on a warm August evening that ended around 10 pm. Then the boats turned home – in the dark. Night travel on the water is part of life in lake communities and many are used to routinely boating at night. 

With increased night boat traffic on the lakes, it is worth a reminder of the dramatically increased safety risk, and the need to operate our boats more cautiously. 

Here are a few things that can help keep you safer on the water at night:


  • Navigation lights on. Always. Period.
  • Be very familiar with local waters and landmarks. If you aren’t, don’t go on the water at night
  • Travel at a significantly lower speed than you would in daylight
  • No alcohol or cannabis in the boat; use a designated driver
  • Limit driver distractions and enlist passengers to support the driver as spotters
  • If you are uncertain about where you are or what is ahead, slow down immediately to a bow-down no wake speed until you are reoriented
  • Know the safety and navigation rules so you can recognize the direction other craft are travelling by their lights


Safe Quiet Lakes Boater’s Code is important to follow any time you are boating, but it is critical at night. Before you go, check out these 15 tips for night boating. Or these! From how to use searchlights to what sounds to listen for and what gear to have onboard, minimizing your risks will maximize your enjoyment on the water.

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