Information

Studies and Laws

Scientific Studies

To Date

In 2014, Sara Mercier-Blais, research assistant, and Yves Prairie, Biology Professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal, conducted a study that indicated that wake boats with their ballast engaged produce powerful ocean-sized high waves that must travel 300 meters before their power dissipates (Mercier-Blais & Prairie, 2014).

To complete the assessment of the impacts of wake boats with ballasts in operation, the Université Laval undertook a study aimed at evaluating the impacts of wake boats on water columns. The results of this study indicated that the water columns churn up bottom sediments of waterways at depths of 7 meters or less, and release phosphorus in the process which contribute to the proliferation of aquatic plants and algae.(Raymond et Galvez, 2015).

Together the UQAM and Université Laval studies suggest that boats with wave amplifiers engaged must navigate in a passage of at least 600 meters and operate in depths of at least 7 meters.

The partners associated with the Université Laval study conducted in 2015 on lake des Sables (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts) and lake Masson (L’Estérel and Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson) were:

  • 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

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

  • The Municipality of Lac-Sergent
  • The Lac Sept-Îles Owners Association
  • The Lake St-Joseph Environmental Protection Association

COALITION NAVIGATION is especially grateful to the pioneer sponsors not only for their generous contribution to science-based legislation, but also for their foresight in establishing models for other local governments and community groups to contribute in 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 motorboats that pose threats to the environmental tolerances of our waterways.

Should you know of other municipalities, research organizations and citizen’s 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 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.

To Date

In 2014, Sara Mercier-Blais, research assistant, and Yves Prairie, Biology Professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal, conducted a study that indicated that wake boats with their ballast engaged produce powerful ocean-sized high waves that must travel 300 meters before their power dissipates (Mercier-Blais & Prairie, 2014).

To complete the assessment of the impacts of wake boats with ballasts in operation, the Université Laval undertook a study aimed at evaluating the impacts of wake boats on water columns. The results of this study indicated that the water columns churn up bottom sediments of waterways at depths of 7 meters or less, and release phosphorus in the process which contribute to the proliferation of aquatic plants and algae.(Raymond et Galvez, 2015).

Together the UQAM and Université Laval studies suggest that boats with wave amplifiers engaged must navigate in a passage of at least 600 meters and operate in depths of at least 7 meters.

The partners associated with the Université Laval study conducted in 2015 on lake des Sables (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts) and lake Masson (L’Estérel and Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson) were:

  • 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

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

  • The Municipality of Lac-Sergent
  • The Lac Sept-Îles Owners Association
  • The Lake St-Joseph Environmental Protection Association

COALITION NAVIGATION is especially grateful to the pioneer sponsors not only for their generous contribution to science-based legislation, but also for their foresight in establishing models for other local governments and community groups to contribute in 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 motorboats that pose threats to the environmental tolerances of our waterways.

Should you know of other municipalities, research organizations and citizen’s 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 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.

Our Recommendations

Bathymetric maps that display all the contours and depths are available for most water bodies in Canada ( much like topographical maps for lind ). These maps can be accessed via the following link of the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans.

As well, for the Laurentian area of Quebec, the Conseil regional de l’environnement des Laurentides recently produced an atlas of bathymetric maps of 300 lakes. COALITION NAVIGATION aims to integrate the information accrued from these maps, not only for the purpose of defining motorboat regulations and operating guidelines, but also for various other water body environmental considerations.

Motorboat operators must also be made aware of the inherent perils of transporting invasive species from one water body to another. Visual inspections and pressurized water washing are critical.

Five steps to protect your lake

If you accidently pollute the water, witness another person doing so and/or notice evidence of a pollution event, notify a pollution prevention officer of the government of Canada.

Anticipate

Many water body associations have their own voluntary code of conduct defining required responsible behavior of motorboat operators.

Leave in a natural state the shoreland areas 10 to 15 metres from the shoreline, as per municipal regulations (based on the slope of the land) or plant indigenous species well-adapted to the area concerned.

Do not use fertilizers other than natural compost and only do so during the plantation stage.

Reduce water resistant surfaces (asphalt, cement, construction materials, etc.) and maximize natural vegetation on the land to optimize water absorption and minimize erosion. Land erosion into the water body carries with it phosphorous, an ingredient favouring undesirable aquatic plants that contribute to the reduction of oxygen required for underwater marine life.

Properly maintain the septic tank and empty it peridodically, as per municipal regulations (ever 2 years or year depending on usage frequency).

Avoid 2-stroke motors, favouring 4-stroke or electric motors which are less polluting and noisy. Ensure proper maintenance of the motor to minimize pollution.

Fuel a motorboat responsibly and have tune-ups when needed.

Eliminate waste adequately to avoid having any of the waste spillage into the environment, including the water body. Don’t throw anything in the water.

References

Asplund TH (2000). The Effects of Motorized Watercraft on Aquatic Ecosystems. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Integrated Science Services and University of Wisconsin-Madison, Water Chemistry Program.

Hansen JP, Sundblad G, Bergström U, Austin AN, Donadi S, Klemens Eriksson B, Eklöf JS (2019). Recreational boating degrades vegetation important for fish recruitment. Ambio, Vol. 48, N° 6: 539–551.

Nautisme Québec, 2016. https://www.nautismequebec.com/symposium/pdf/Mardi3-Alain%20RoyAMQ&NMMA.pdf

Venohr M, Langhans SD, Peters O, Hölker F, Arlinghaus R, Mitchell L, Wolter C (2018). The underestimated dynamics and impacts of water-based recreational activities on freshwater ecosystems. Environmental Reviews, Vol. 26, N° 2: 199-213.