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