The lakes in cottage country, and throughout Ontario, will be busy during the Victoria Day long weekend, and Safe Quiet Lakes wants boaters to be mindful of the waves they cause.
The group is partnering with the Muskoka Lakes Association and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations to launch their second #WakeAware campaign. The group says wakes made by boats can be a danger to swimmers, canoers and paddleboarders, and can also damage natural habitats. They can also erode shorelines and damage docks both public and private.
The groups want boaters this summer to make sure they are aware of the size of their boat wakes. They urge people who are waterskiing, surfing or wakeboarding to be 200 meters away from shorelines when they do it. They also ask boaters to make sure they reduce speed near shore.
“With the sixth wave waning, we’re finally hoping for a return to a more ‘normal’ cottage country experience this year,” says Terry Rees, Executive Director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations. “We all can’t wait to get back on the water this long weekend, but let’s do it safely and responsibly. Everyone needs to Be #WakeAware.”
The #WakeAware campaign was launched last year. “Closed borders and isolating away from urban centres led to huge increases in the use of Ontario’s waterways over the past two years, and new ‘staycationing’ incentives will keep the heat on cottage country this year,” officials with the organization said. “There were nearly 200,000 new pleasure craft operator cards issued in 2021, after a peak of 237,000 issued in the first year of the global pandemic.”
With files from Trevor Smith-Millar