OUR MISSION: To be a leading voice in promoting safe, quiet waterways and respectful boating practices through education, advocacy and legislative change.

July 2023 Newsletter

Chair’s Message

Safe Quiet Lakes in the community


We are thankful for the many wonderful partnerships we have in the community! We regularly make presentations to lake associations, municipalities and a few weeks ago to the District of Muskoka. These partnerships give us valuable input on how to make a positive impact and help us extend our message - so that together we can ensure the enjoyment of our lakes for generations to come.


Over the past two weeks we have also spoken to over 35 marinas in Muskoka and had meetings with the Bracebridge OPP Marine division. This summer our involvement will be even greater as we have just hired two summer students to help with our education and awareness campaigns. They will help us promote messages on sharing the space safely and mindfully while on the water. Look for us at farmers markets, boat locks and at local events. We’ll be taking lots of pictures that we will post in our next newsletter and on social media.


We’d also like to hear more of your views on various lake issues and our programs. What is most important to you? Do you have an idea for a webinar or perhaps a program that would promote sharing the waterways? Your views drive what we do, so please contact me at chair@safequiet.ca 

Warm regards,

Diana Piquette

Chair, Safe Quiet Lakes

Safety and the jet ski factor

A disturbing trend in the data Safe Quiet Lakes (SQL) has been collecting over the past ten years has been a decline in the feeling of safety on the water. People love the lakes and want to preserve them, but an increase in boat noise, traffic and speeds, and a decline in perception of safety has negatively impacted the overall quality of lake experience.


Since 2013, SQL has been conducting lake user surveys on key issues in Muskoka and Georgian Bay, with the most recent Your Lakes, Your Views survey, in 2021, receiving close to 6,000 respondents. Just over half of the people, 52%, perceive that the level of their safety on the water has gone down.


One pronounced trend from the latest survey was the disproportionate number of people concerned about personal watercraft (PWC). Despite PWCs making up five to seven per cent of boat traffic, they were one of the top complaints. Chief among people’s concerns were noise, inexperienced operators, PWCs travelling too fast and too close to shorelines, swimmers and other boaters. “Common courtesy needed by PWC operators with respect to noise, antics and speed,” reads one comment from the 2021 survey.


This correlates with another significant lake use trend -- a marked increase in the number of people using kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Paddling brings a unique appreciation of risk and vulnerability. Respectful boating ensures everyone can enjoy the water. To learn more, the Muskoka Lakes Association has several online webinars on Becoming a Better Boat Driver, including Safe and Enjoyable PWCing.

Weigh in on wakesurfing

We all love boating and watersports, but excessive wakes are not only a risk to swimmers, paddlers and other boaters, they are a threat to the lake environment. There is mounting evidence excessive wakes cause shoreline erosion and can impact marine life and water quality. Wakesurfing in certain areas that are too close to shore or where waters are too shallow have been shown to produce excessive wakes.


Transport Canada is asking the public to weigh in on a proposed amendment to boating rules that would allow municipalities to prohibit wakesurfing in certain or all parts of a body of water. Currently, wakesurfing is included in the same restriction category as all tow sports, and thus municipalities have refrained from applying for the restriction because they don’t want a blanket prohibition on watersports that aren’t a problem. This leaves the safety and environmental concerns from wakesurfing unaddressed. The amendment would separate wakesurfing from other watersports and allow municipalities to target wakesurfing more precisely.


Safe Quiet Lakes has submitted a response to Transport Canada in support of this amendment. Anyone wishing to comment can review the amendments here. The deadline for submissions is August 16th.

Wake Survey - What are your thoughts?

Safe Quiet Lakes has been co-operating with the School of the Environment at the University of Windsor on their research on the potential impact of boat wakes, particularly in Ontario's cottage country. 

As part of their research, the school is surveying public perception of boat wakes in inland lakes in Ontario and would like your input. You can find the survey here.  The results of the research will be made available as a report through the Windsor Coastal Group website in 2024. 

Take the Survey


We think there’s room for everyone on the lake - from speedboats to canoes if we all Be#WakeAware. Learn about your responsibility for ensuring the lake can be enjoyed safely by all by visiting www.bewakeaware.com.

Update on floating homes in Ontario

On July 1st, Ontario brought in legislation to ban floating homes from docking overnight on public land covered by water, under an amendment to Ontario’s Public Lands Act. Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said it received nearly 700 comments when it sought feedback from the public regarding the proposed changes to the Public Lands Act earlier this year. A number of concerns addressed the potential environmental impacts as well as safety.

The changes only apply to public lands in Ontario managed under the Public Lands Act and will not address floating homes located on private water lots or on waterways under jurisdiction of other governments and ministries (e.g., portions of Trent Severn Waterway). The result is that Ontario’s announcement only applies to what has been defined as float homes and is therefore unrelated to the current situation as long as float homes remain designated as vessels, and until such time as Transport Canada rescinds the vessel designation.


As such, proponents of regulating floating homes are encouraged to speak to their MPs and ask that Transport Canada address this by reclassifying these structures as float homes and not vessels. This has already been done in British Columbia. This reclassification will allow proper regulations for construction material, management of septic and grey water, as well as contribute to municipal tax revenues. 

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 outreach@safequiet.ca

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