It seems that everyone who is able to is at the lake this summer! With restrictions on traveling outside of the province we have seen a huge increase in people coming to spend their summer in the beautiful Muskoka region. The lakes are filled with more people who want to experience the water in a variety of ways – from power boats to jet ski’s to kayaking. This increase of such diverse crafts on the water means that more than ever we must be attentive to sharing the space. For Safe Quiet Lakes this means that our messages and educational programs are needed more than ever to keep our lakes safe and make boaters aware of their impact on people around them.
Our Wakes and Speed project on Mirror Lake has already shown positive results. We have provided signs and buoys to alert boaters to the 9km speed limit within 30 meters of shore regulation. Where we have placed these signs, we are seeing a marked reduction in speed, making it safer for swimmers and human powered vessels. Since launching this pilot program, we have received many requests from across Ontario asking for our signs and for more information on what can be done. We are holding a webinar with Transport Canada on August 25th to help answer some of those questions.
With increased traffic we have also been hearing about excessive boat noise - this year more than ever! Our Decibel Coalition program is progressing and is designed to give law enforcement officers the tools to deal with noise offenders. Until then we continue to raise awareness about loud boats and legal requirements requiring boats to have mufflers.
In our July Webinar with the MLA we conducted a poll and the results of our questions showed that 93% were bothered by boat motor noise, 91% felt that boaters drive too close to the shoreline, and 56% did not feel safe swimming by their dock. Think about that – more than half of the participants don’t feel safe swimming close to their dock! And of those on the webinar 100% felt that more education is needed around boating safety and etiquette. Speeding close to shore, noise of boats and reckless boating were identified as the most important issues related to sharing the space on the lakes responsibly.
We are happy that the mission of Safe Quiet Lakes is as important to you as it is to us! We rely on your help to continue our efforts. We are a grass roots not-for profit organization funded by donations and sponsorships. Your support is needed as we expand our programs and reach more people with our message. Please go to our website to donate or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information on our Platinum, Gold and Silver recognition levels. Together we can make our shared lake resource enjoyable and safe for all.
Diana Piquette, Chair