Waterways Ontario
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Look Out Behind
Be Aware of Your Wake

Wake Up!

Over the last couple of weeks, WaterWays has received several questions about speed limits and no wake zones.  No doubt a sudden wave hurling up on shore or lifting your boat can be anywhere from annoying to downright destructive.  I’ve heard boaters swearing at each other, people shouting “slow down” and even heard a story about the sound of a gun!  Whether the gun was aimed into the air or at the boat, the storyteller wasn’t sure.  And he didn’t wait around to find out!


I prefer to think that boaters are unaware rather than wilfully inconsiderate, so when you’re near shore or in a river or channel, turn around and look at how much water you’re dragging behind the boat.  Even though you’re not going quickly, the stern of your boat can drop down when you slow and push up a lot of water, even more than it does when you’re up on plane.  The destruction also happens when boaters rush up to the lock gate or the dock.  Even though they may enter the marina or lock at the right speed limit, the wake they drag behind continues and can really toss things around.  It’s simple.  Slow down sooner and, sometimes, the posted limit is not quite slow enough.


The fact is there is no such thing in Canadian waters as a “no wake zone”.  There is in the US but not here.  At least there is no enforcement of no wake zones because Transport Canada feels that by enforcing speed limits, they’re controlling wake.  But if you’re going 10 KPH or 6 MPH and you see you’re still throwing a lot of water around, slow down some more… and in places like the Narrows between Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching, drop right down to idle, and coast your way through.  First of all, it’s more considerate… secondly, you are responsible for any property damage your wake causes. 


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