by Ann Doritty, Member of the Education Committee

Speeding boats have become a major problem on all lakes. There is a group in Muskoka called “Safe Quiet Lakes” that has banded together to promote the value of S L O W Boating. They are asking people to be more aware of their wake. Not just for safety reasons but for peace and quiet and the protection of loon’s nests, wildlife habitats, and shorelines. It is all about changing the perception of boaters.

DID YOU KNOW there is a Speeding Law?

The legal speed limit is 10 km/hour (6m/hour) when 30 meters from shore. 

It is called the “Universal Shoreline Speed Restriction 10/30 Rule”. At present, the OPP does not have a big presence in Pointe au Baril. However, there are moves afoot to increase their presence particularly because of unsafe boating and BIG WAKES. 

Responsible boating requires attention, not only to your safety equipment but to the impact your boat and its wake are having on others, shorelines, and property. Charges can be laid by police to the operator responsible for property damage due to wakes.  We all want safe and quiet lakes, so let’s spread the word and “throttle back” when necessary.

  • Operate your boat as far away as possible from shore, docks, and other boats.
  • Look behind you to see and understand the impact of your wake. 
  • Adjust your speed to minimize the impact on other boats both in narrow channels and on the shoreline. 

Andy Adams wrote this article in Cottage Life in August 2019 and here are excerpts from it.

Here are 5 things you can be fined for when driving your boat.

  1. Life jackets are the first thing that police officers will look for. They have to be readily available if not worn. In Ontario, typically, the fine for not having the right life jacket is $240.
  2. Having open liquor or cannabis on board. These substances must be sealed, stowed, and out of sight. The operator, as well as the passengers, can be fined $215. The only time it is legal to consume alcohol on your boat is when you are moored or anchored and have a permanent washroom and cooking and sleeping accommodations on board.
  3. You must have a “spotter” when using a boat for towed sports. If using personal watercraft, it needs to be a three-seater (for the driver, the spotter, and the person being towed), and you can only tow one person at a time. Fine: $305.
  4. The operator must have their valid Pleasure Craft Operator’s Card (PCOC) with them in the boat and the fine is $305 for not having the card onboard (even if you have one at home). It’s also best to have your other ID with you too. The PCOC card does not have a photo and the other ID can help establish that you are the person who holds that PCOC card. Fine: $305.
  5. Powered vessels require a Pleasure Craft License and the Transport Canada vessel licence numbers are to be properly displayed on the bow of the vessel. You are also required to have the registration—on board—and the vessel’s ownership (or copies) too. Not having the licence registration earns you a fine of $305.