What are the rules about mufflers?

Driving an unmuffled boat with pipes venting exhaust above the waterline directly from the engine with no muffler, or bypassing the muffler, is illegal on Muskoka area lakes.  Outboard and inboard/outboard engines comply with the law when they exhaust through the propeller hub under water.  Loud isn’t illegal, but muffler bypassing on our lakes is.  If you feel a boat is violating the law you can report it to the OPP.  The law requires that all boats operating within 5 nautical miles of shore must have a muffler in good working order.

If your boat is equipped with a muffler cut-out or by-pass (known as Captains Choice or Silent Choice) it must be visibly disconnected in a manner that ensures it cannot be easily reconnected while the vessel is in operation. If you can switch your captains choice from through the prop to by-pass directly though the transom pipe, that is illegal.

Boats where the exhaust gases are directed under water through the propeller hub or below the cavitation plate are legal. This includes all outboards, most inboard/outboards, all personal water crafts and most wake-board boats.

Boats manufactured before January 1, 1960 are not required to have a muffler. This typically includes classic wooden boats.

Canadian waterways are regulated by the federal government.  Here are the links to the two relevant Canadian laws:

Small Vessel Regulations (SOR/2010-91)

Construction Standards for Small Vessels (2010) – TP 1332 E