Studies and Laws

Scientific Studies

To Date

In 2014, Sara Mercier-Blais, research assistant, and Yves Priairie, Biology Professor at the 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 (Mercier-Blais & Priairie, 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 5 metres or less, and release 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 must navigate in a passage of at least 600 metres and operate in a depths of at least 5 metres.

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
  • The Lac des Sables Landing Committee

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
Scenic lake view with forests and mountains in the background

The 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 motor boats that pose threats to the environmental tolerances of our waterways.

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.


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.

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