OUR MISSION: Make the Muskoka lakes safer and quieter to ensure the sustainable enjoyment of a treasured shared resource
Chair’s Message
Welcome to our winter newsletter highlighting key activities such as the Decibel Coalition, and a pilot project to control wakes and speed.

A very large and sincere thank you to the Safe Quiet Lakes board, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and the many associations that engage with us. Our programs are not possible without you. 

As always, we are very interested in your comments and feedback. Your interest, support and participation are so very important to us. I can be reached at [email protected]

-Frances Carmichael, Chair
Wakes, and Speed Pilot Project
Wakes and speed on the Muskoka Lakes continue to be one of the top concerns we hear about in surveys and in person at outreach events. To address these concerns we have embarked on a pilot project to test tactics to educate and mitigate the effects wakes and speeds have on the lakes. We will begin with one region in hopes of positive outcomes that enable us to deploy these resources more widely in Muskoka and beyond.

Our test area is the Indian River/Mirror Lake section around Port Carling which during the summer is a widely used and misused part of the lakes. In October Safe Quiet Lakes distributed an online survey to the residents of the area to understand their concerns and to establish a base line for comparison. We received over 60 responses – thank you to those who took the time to share their concerns and ideas.

Some highlights are:
  • 90% of respondents are concerned or very concerned about the impact of wakes
  • 91% were concerned or very concerned about the lack of safety knowledge of boaters
  • 85% felt there should be more buoys in the area
  • 80% felt that more signage was required

Given this feedback Safe Quiet Lakes has an opportunity to make a strong impact in the area by working with the Township of Muskoka Lakes, and other stakeholders to help the members of this community through the development of wake related signage, educational and legal buoys along with publicity and direct education. Stay tuned for more updates as we develop new tools to be used in the area this summer!

For more information on the Wakes and Speed Pilot Project and how to get involved please check out our website .

-Colleen Kennedy, Wakes and Speed Project Lead
Decibel Coalition
In our Labour Day newsletter, we described our plan to develop a cooperative approach to advocating for decibel limits on excessive boat motor noise. In our 2017 survey 67% of the respondents want current muffler rules enforced, and 61% supported establishing decibel limits on sound made by boats. Current laws require all boats to have a muffler, but it is very difficult to enforce. Adding decibel limits to the legislation will make enforcement easy and effective.

Since late fall Safe Quiet Lakes has been actively working to establish a national Decibel Coalition of likeminded stakeholders. The objective of the coalition is to get the Small Vessel Regulations enhanced to include decibel limits on the amount of noise boat motors can make.

Some important questions boat owners' might have about this initiative:

Will my boat(s) be affected?
The vast majority of boats on our lakes already comply with current laws and will comply with the proposed decibel limits. These include all boats where the engine exhaust exits through the propeller including all outboards, most inboard/outboards, all personal water craft and most wakeboards that have their exhaust exiting below the waterline. Under the current regulations boats that have a “Captains Choice/Silent Choice” are legal only if the ability to switch to “loud” has been disabled so that it cannot be switched while operating the boat. Boats built before January 1, 1960, are and will continue to be exempt.

Which boats will be affected?
The current law requires your boat to have a muffler. If your boat has through the hull exhausts with no muffler then it is not legal today. If your boat has through the hull exhausts and does have a muffler, either inline or on the ends of the pipes, it is legal today but may not be legal with decibel limits if it is too loud.

What can I do if my boat is too loud?
Various muffler/exhaust diversion solutions are available in the market place to reduce the amount of decibels your boat produces. Depending on your boat, costs start as low as a few hundred dollars. In the case of extreme
Safe Quiet Lakes board member Rob Bosomworth investigating muffler device options at the Toronto International Boat Show.
high performance racing boats there may be no solution to bring the decibels down to proposed legal limits. These boats are designed for ocean racing or operating 5 nautical miles from shore. These boats do not belong on our lakes.

How do I know if my boat is too loud?
If you want to know if your boat is too noisy, a simple test is to drive by your dock at your normal speed and distance. If the people on shore have difficulty hearing each other while talking, then your boat is probably too loud. US and European legislation have set this limit at 75 decibels. More precise measurement can be made with decibel apps that are available for your smart phone. 

It all comes down to respectful use of our lakes so that they can be enjoyed by all. For more information on the project please check out our website and to get involved please contact the project team at [email protected]

-Rob Bosomworth, Decibel Coalition Project Lead
Safe Quiet Lakes Updates
Safe Quiet Lakes would like to give a warm welcome to Lauren Cochrane, our new administrative and outreach coordinator. Lauren is a local Muskoka resident, who grew up in Bala and now resides in Gravenhurst. Lauren brings to us a wealth of administrative experience from the post-secondary educational field.

With the extra resources now available to Safe Quiet Lakes, we hope to be able to take our educational and outreach efforts to the next level. Please say hello to Lauren this summer at any of Safe Quiet Lakes' events.

If you wish to contact Lauren she can be reached at [email protected]
Lauren Cochrane and her dog Ellie on Lake Muskoka in Gravenhurst this February.
I nvite us to your Lake Association's AGM!
We would be happy to have one of our board members present and discuss effective strategies to promote safe and respectful boating. Please let us know if you have an event that you would like us to attend. And, if you would like to offer Safe Quiet Lakes' educational materials such as our Boater's Code postcard seen below at your marina, rental property, or lake association please contact [email protected] and we would be happy to make arrangements.

-Nancy Cohen, Outreach Committee Chair
Boating Safely at Night
In the summer months a little over a third of the day is night, and boating doesn’t stop at sundown. But just because boating at night is normal, doesn’t mean it is safe. Ontario boaters remember the awful news about accidental deaths at night on the water last summer.

Here is a terrific and timely article by our colleague Scott Ferguson about the joys and dangers of night boating – and tips that will help you enjoy boating after dark safely.

-Greg Wilkinson, Chair Advocacy
Many Thanks to Our Generous Supporters
Over the past eight years Safe Quiet Lakes has been building support from individuals and organizations across our community. Thank you for your commitment to making our lakes safer and quieter. And thank you to the many new supporters who responded to our fall fundraising appeal. Welcome aboard!   
Your donations help us keep our programs afloat.  
For more information and to make a contribution online please visit our website or contact me at [email protected]

-Karen Dalton, Fundraising Chair
Friends of Muskoka - Legacy Cottages Campaign

On February 27, 2020 lawyers for the volunteer group Friends of Muskoka, Legacy Cottages, the Township of Muskoka Lakes and the District of Muskoka presented arguments at the LPAT Tribunal hearing in Bracebridge on a proposed development located in Minett. The proposed development would include 43 residential lots on 470 feet of Lake Rosseau. Friends of Muskoka presented arguments on the commercial land usage issue. A decision is expected from the tribunal in four to six months.

For more information on Friends of Muskoka check out www.savemuskoka.ca
Report Finds Seniors Most at Risk for Drowning

The long-term downward trend of drowning deaths continues according to the 2019 Canadian Drowning Report by the Lifesaving Society of Canada.

Some important notes from this report, seniors age 65 and older are the highest at risk for drowning in Canada. While recreational activities accounted for 58% of the cause of all water-related deaths.

To read the full report from the Lifesaving Society of Canada, click 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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