Decibel Coalition

The Decibel Coalition is a national group of stakeholders whose objective is to enhance existing legislation in the Small Vessel Regulations SOR/2010-91 to include decibel limits for boat motor noise with efficient and effective enforcement procedures. The Coalition is run by SQL and was established in the Fall of 2019.

We know that for most people, a boat that is excessively noisy is not “sharing” the lake and its operator is being selfish and disrespectful to all other lake users. Our 2017 survey found 88% of over 3,300 respondents ranked “relaxing on the dock” as very important and 82% “like to be able to hear the sound of nature when I am on the lake”. Loud boats were ranked as a major obstacle to this basic enjoyment. Sixty-seven percent of respondents want muffler laws enforced and 61% want decibel legislation.

Canada’s existing legislation is weak to the point where police will not enforce it. Decibels limits are legislated in many states in the USA and are standard in the European Union. Enhancing the Small Vessel Regulations will bring Canada in line with these jurisdictions.

To be successful when working with Transport Canada, the Coalition must have national breadth and representational depth. National breadths means strong stakeholder participation from the three major recreational boat market provinces, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec as well as regional representation from the prairies and Atlantic Provinces.

Representational depth means support from cottage and lake associations, law enforcement agencies, boat building and motor manufacturer associations, municipalities and the boat sales and service industry associations.

When the Coalition is fully established then work begins with Transport Canada to take forward the proposed changes ultimately resulting in an update to the regulations through Parliament.