OUR MISSION: Make the Muskoka lakes safer and quieter to ensure the sustainable enjoyment of a treasured shared resource
Chair’s Message
Hello and Happy Winter!

All seasons at the cottage bring joy! Cross country skiing, snow shoeing or just going for long brisk hikes to enjoy the wonderland.

A time for the fresh outdoors and also for planning our activities for the coming year. Safe Quiet Lakes remains focused on prioritizing our activities based on stakeholder input. As such we are preparing a follow-up to the in-depth surveys we conducted in 2014 and 2017. We have involvement from our lake associations partners and a new partnership with Algonquin College. Together we are reviewing the methodology with a goal to launch in early summer.

We are also looking at ways to stay connected through our safe boating education. It is almost certain that the need to stay distanced will be continued. Our webinars were very popular last year so we will look to create a new series. Any ideas on what you would like to hear about would be appreciated!

Like other boat and lake community stakeholders we have weighed in on the proposed changes to Transport Canada’s request for comment on the modernization of the boat operating competency program. While we support the direction of the changes, we would like to see competency enhanced with on-water training. Much like renting a car, you should hold a licence and have some on the road training. We also feel that the proposed regulations should be expedited so that enhanced safety can be brought into effect as quickly as possible. Safe Quiet Lakes' response to proposed PCOC changes.

Enjoy your winter and please reach out to me if you are interested in sharing your thoughts or suggestions on our programs.

Warm regards,
Diana Piquette, Chair Safe Quiet Lakes
Outreach Committee Update
The Outreach Committee has been busy the last two months preparing for and delegating to local municipal councils. Safe Quiet Lakes' board directors presented to Seguin Township, Township of Muskoka Lakes, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, and Township of Lake of Bays. Keeping municipal governments aware of issues on the lakes and rivers in the area is an important part of our advocacy work. We received positive feedback from these councils and look forward to working with them on future projects.

We have also begun planning education programs for the 2021 boating season. These include expanding our webinar series, creating materials for short term property rentals, and creating toolkits for lake associations to promote safe and respectful boating.

-Karen Dalton, Outreach Committee Lead
Wakes and Speed
The Wakes and Speed Committee is ramping up its efforts in 2021! We issued a follow-up survey to our Wakes and Speed test area (Indian River and Mirror) in December to gather feedback on the efficacy of our efforts to mitigate disruptive boating behaviour this past boating season. There was an encouraging response to our efforts but more work is needed. We received feedback that our signs should be larger and a clear call to action. Therefore we have begun developing new “No Wake” signs to be rolled out in the broader Muskoka/Seguin area. 

We will continue to work with the MLA to redeploy a more advanced radar sign in the Foreman Narrows. The MLA will also continue sign distribution to their members. We are excited to be working on new communication tools and ideas for education to further our wakes and speed messaging in the upcoming boating season.

-Colleen Kennedy, Wakes and Speed Project Lead
The Decibel Coalition
We have passed the first anniversary of the formation of the Decibel Coalition. Since the last report in October, the Coalition has expanded its membership to 19 lake associations representing over 10,000 families. They are located in Central BC, central and Eastern Ontario and the Eastern Townships in Quebec. We are very happy to add a committee member in Quebec who will be our feet on the ground to connect with new lake associations, municipalities, and law enforcement agencies. Our next steps are to expand our membership to include municipalities as we prepare for our approach to Transport Canada.

Our goal is to have current legislation enhanced to include performance standards for boat motor mufflers measured in decibels with efficient, effective enforcement procedures. We are pleased with the interest we are receiving across the country. Together we will get this legislation change in place and give the police the tools they need to control excessively loud boats on our waterways.

-Rob Bosomworth, Decibel Coalition Project Lead
2020 OPP Marine Policing Stats
On October 19, 2020 representatives from the OPP Marine Unit made a presentation to the District of Muskoka Council summarizing the 2020 marine enforcement and activity for the Bracebridge, Huntsville, Southern Georgian Bay Detachments.

OPP reported that marine incidents in Muskoka were up 12 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. Staff Sgt. Jason Folz of Central Region OPP said there is no question that the rise in boat traffic and marine incidents is a direct result of increased activity in Muskoka this summer, an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since this trend is expected to continue into 2021, Safe Quiet Lakes will continue to promote safe and respectful boating.

The full OPP Marine unit presentation to the District Council is available here.
About Safe Quiet Lakes

Safe Quiet Lakes is a not-for-profit community group of boaters that promote safe, respectful boating.

We believe that positive, grass root conversations and education are important drivers of change. We created the Boater’s Code to help get the conversation started. 
We launched a new video this past year about our programs. Please click the image to watch it.
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