While the popularity of wake surfing has exploded in recent years, not everyone in Muskoka is greeting the sport’s growth with open arms.
Last week the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA), in conjunction with the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations and Safe Quiet Lakes launched the Be Wake Aware campaign.
While the campaign is focused on the damage caused by all types of wake, they make specific notes of the ravaging effects caused by wake surfing. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association of Canada sales of tow boats have rose by 13% between 2019 and 2020.
The MLA says many boaters in Muskoka are simply unaware of the impact that their wake can have. Those impacts could include potentially capsizing smaller craft like canoes and small fishing boats, causing shoreline erosion and the potential to drowned young nesting birds, particularly in May and June. They also say high wakes can damage docks and moored boats, be a nuisance to neighbours and could pose a potential risk to inexperienced swimmers.
The campaign, which can be found at bewakeaware.com, lists a number of ways that boaters can limit the amount of damage and risk caused by wakes and also has a short video on wake awareness which they are encouraging people to share.
They also remind boaters that in Ontario there is a speed limit of 10 km per hour within 30 m of shore, unless otherwise posted.
The group also sells no wake signs to remind boaters to “slow down/ bow down” and to support continued efforts to encourage responsible boating behavior.
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