2015 Strong year – Plans for 2016

Boaters Always Care

newsOur summer outreach activities include talking to boaters at events and lake association meetings, the installation of Boaters Code signs at municipal boat launches, marinas and resorts through Muskoka.   If you would like to invite us to speak at in your area this summer, please be in-touch at safequieter@gmail.ca.

The 2015 Boaters Always Care Initiative promotes 3 key themes:

  • Boaters operate with caution and courtesy
  • Always keep a 360 degree watch and minimize wake and noise
  • Care for passengers, respect regulations and offer PFD’s and safety instruction.

2015 Overview

At the Stakeholder meeting, Greg Wilkinson provided an overview of 2015 activities, building on the success of 2013 and 2014 campaigns. In survey results, the most commonly cited problems are:

  • Boats going too fast too close to shore
  • Loud boat engines
  • Large wakes
  • Unsafe and inconsiderate boating

Since 2013 a total of 75 Boater’s Code signs have been posted at marinas (including: Pride, Port Sandfield, Muskoka Warf),  public boat launches in Township of Muskoka Lakes and Seguin including the locks, local resorts and boating oriented businesses including Marriott and Deerhurst. Also, over 6100 Boater’s Code cards, 1700 Right of Way stickers, and 1200 Brochures have been distributed. Finally over 8000 page views were recorded on the website by 4800 users.

We surveyed participants in the stakeholder meeting and their responses confirmed earlier data trends and some of our anecdotal experience.  It was very encouraging to learn that almost three quarters of respondents agree that boating stakeholders are working together more in Muskoka and almost two thirds agree that boating safety is improving. There is clearly more work to be done however, because only half of the respondents feel that the level of responsible and respectful boating is improving and even fewer respondents feel that noise and wakes are improving in Muskoka.

We also collected feedback on the communication and education tools that are foundational to the work of Safe Quiet Lakes.  Our Boaters’ Code and Navigation sticker continue to receive very high marks from stakeholders, a view that is consistent with the extremely high demand for those tools. Our electronic tools, website and social media, are rated lower, although they are perceived to be improving by respondents, and both will be an area of focus for further improvement for Safe Quiet Lakes in 2016.

2016 activities

We will continue our Education and Communication programs this year with a new joint media campaign with the OPP starting on the Victoria Day weekend called the “Quiet Campaign” (more on this later), re-launch of a new, improved website (safequiet.ca), and extended Boaters Always Care outreach to marinas, resorts, lake associations with our summer intern John Joseph.

We are working on a new toolkit for lake associations, and continue with advocacy and engaging governments (municipal, provincial, federal), and cooperation with like-minded groups.

We attended the National Marine Manufacturing Association (NMMA) “Summit” on recreational boating in Ottawa in May and were given the opportunity to introduce SQL and discuss our model. Of note, the OPP talked about enforcement and noise. They said decibel limits on the water are complex for enforcement because of the equipment that would be required and the calibration needs. The OPP consistently express a desire to focus on education about the noise issue.