Information

Studies and Laws

Scientific Studies

To Date

In 2014, Université du Québec à Montreal conducted a study that indicated that wake boats with their ballast engaged produce high waves that must travel 300 metres before their power dissipates.

To complete the assessment of the impacts of wake boats with ballasts in operation, the COALITION NAVIGATION mandated the Université Laval to study the impacts of wake boat water columns. The results of this study was such that the water columns churn up the sediments of waterways bottoms in depths of 5 metres or less, and releasing phosphorous in the process which contribute to the proliferation of aquatic plants and algae.

Together the UQAM and Université Laval studies suggest that boats with wave amplifiers engaged must have a passage of at least 600 metres and operate in a depth of at least 5 metres.

The sponsors of the Université Laval study which was conducted in 2015 on lake des Sables (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts) and lake Masson (L’Estérel and Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson) concerning the impact of the wake boats on the water columns are:

  • The MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut
  • The municipality of Estérel
  • The municipality of Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson
  • The municipality of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts
  • The Lac des Sables Landing Committee

In 2016, the COALITION NAVIGATION has mandated the Université Laval to produce a study of the international literature conerning various types of boats in various types of marine environments. The sponsors of this exercise are:

  • The municipality of Lac-Sergent
  • The Lac Sept-Îles Owners Association
  • The Lake St. Joseph Environmental Protection Association
Scenic lake view with forests and mountains in the background

The COALITION NAVIGATIONis especially grateful to the pioneer sponsors, not only for their generous contribution to science-based legislation, but also for their foresight to establish models for other local governments and community groups to contribute to the completion of this most important work to once and for all have a basis for protecting our waterways in the face of increasing numbers of motor boats that pose threats to the environmental tolerances of our waterways.

In the Summer of 2016, the COALITION NAVIGATION research program will be completed with studies to cover the gaps not addressed in previous research. In particular, the 2016 research will address matters concerning different types of boats in the shallow lakes and jet propulsion boats in BC’s salmon rivers.

Should you know of other municipalities, research organizations and citizens’ groups that may be interested in sponsoring additional research, and/or if you have identified additional research gaps that should be taken into account by the COALITION NAVIGATION , please do not hesitate to contact us.

Lastly, on the impacts of water columns in shallow waters, the video produced by Lac-Sept-Îles Owners Association offers excellent insights into the turbidity and churning up of lake bottom sediments.

Planned

In the fall of 2018, with the help of the École de technologie supérieure (affiliated with the Université du Québec), COALITION will undertake two research projects aimed at developing and assembling two devices which will:

  1. Evaluate the environmental impacts of various categories
  2. Identify the cumulative impacts of motorboat activities (named the Observer).

In the spring of 2019, activities on the water will begin with the validation of the Observer’s functionalities. With this device, water measurements of the environmental signature of motorboats will take place in the summer of 2019, in Quebec, in the Laurentides region. The measurements taken with the Observer will take place on the Shuswap River, an ecologically fragile salmon river in British Columbia. The Observer will be positioned on the river in two separate locations. The first will be located in a migratory salmon area and characterized by deep basins, and constantly invaded by the presence of motorboats type “wake boats” and “ski boats”. The second device will be located in a shallow spawning area where the use of large propulsion boats is common. Thus, we will study the impact of boats on salmon and their eggs as well as the impact of boat propulsion on the lake’s bed.

The Future

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Legal Measures

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Scenic lake view with forests and mountains in the background
Scenic lake view with a dead tree and forests in the background

Our Recommendations

There exists bathymetric maps, maps which delineate the contours of waterway depths for most waterways in Canada. One can access these maps via the following link from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

As well, in Quebec Laurentides region, recent maps of more than 300 lakes are available on the Atlas des lacs of the Conseil régional de l’Environnement des Laurentides. In addition to the environmental considerations, the COALITION NAVIGATION will integrate other preoccupations of communities throughout Canada.

Boat owners must be sensitized to the dangers of bringing exotic and invasive species from one waterway to another when taking one’s boat from one waterway to another. A visual inspection accompanied by appropriate cleaning of one’s boat is essential in these cases.

If you accidentally pollute the water, see another person pollute the water or notice the result of such an act, report the event to a Government of Canada pollution prevention officer.

Think Ahead

Many lake associations have a code of ethics that describes the responsible behavior for boat owners.

  • Keep a riparian strip for a distance of 10 or 15 meters according to municipal regulations (depending on the slope) or reforest with native plants well adapted to riparian conditions.
  • Do not use fertilizer except compost and only during planting.
  • Reduce impervious surfaces (asphalt, concrete, constructions, etc.) and maximize natural vegetation on the ground to promote water absorption and reduce runoff. Runoff water carries phosphorus, the preferred food of aquatic plants, which is multiplying and can take oxygen away from any underwater life.
  • Maintain and drain the septic system at the recommended frequency (2 years or 1 year in case of heavy traffic).
  • Avoid 2-stroke engines as much as possible: use an electric motor or 4-stroke engine that is less polluting and less noisy. Maintain the engine properly to prevent pollution.
  • Fill up with gasoline responsibly and make sure you have an engine in focus.
  • Properly dispose of waste so that no debris or product is released into the environment and into the water. Do not throw anything in the water.