Safe Quiet Lakes – The Results Are In

By Allison Needham

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2021 Safe Quiet Lakes survey: Your Lakes, Your Views. Close to 6,000 community members responded, providing some interesting insights on how you and your neighbours enjoy the Bay. Responses were received from lakes and rivers all over the Muskoka region, Georgian Bay, and many other areas of Ontario, demonstrating that the lake community is deeply engaged with boating issues. The main concerns have been consistent: wakes, noise and speed. The data also reveals that there has been an increase in support for education about responsible boating, regulations, and enforcement.

The Decibel Coalition

Established in November 2019 by Safe Quiet Lakes, the Decibel Coalition is working to have Transport Canada enhance the current regulations for boat motor mufflers to include sound performance standards measured in decibels. It also wants easy, efficient, and effective enforcement procedures. More than 40 lake associations and eight municipalities have joined the Coalition or publicly support its goals. These associations represent more than 90,000 lakefront property owners across Canada. The Georgian Bay Association (GBA) was one of the early members and continues to be a strong supporter.

Excessively noisy boats and floatplanes are a persistent, pervasive, and growing problem on many of our waterways. The results from the survey will help these organizations work together for safer and quieter lakes – fuelling programs, and helping to advocate on behalf of lake users in the region.

How Can You Help?

The Decibel Coalition has launched a petition that you can sign to individually articulate your specific noise concerns. You are encouraged to add comments in the “why you signed the petition” section, as providing context around individual boat noise experience will be important to the Coalition’s success with Transport Canada. The petition can be found

Survey Results

The scale and scope of this survey is immense and covers trends over the past eight years. The insights from these responses will be used by local and federal governments and by lake associations as a basis for developing programs and strategies. The results from the survey, which included Georgian Bay for the first time, clearly indicate that lakefront property owners are definitely concerned about boat noise and peaceful enjoyment of their downtime on the Bay. The research report has eight practical recommendations. Check out the results, review the findings and read the comments submitted:


Full survey:

Key Findings

Top Pleasures

Three activities hold almost universal appeal. Interestingly, none of these activities involved a boat!

All other major lake activities are based around a boat of some kind – the top core pleasures are:

Also rated as important:

Top Concerns

Top problems associated with unsafe and inconsiderate boating:

Here are the final GBA survey participation numbers broken down by association and showing the percentage of their members who did respond with a completed survey. There were 5,951 complete responses, 1,111 from the Georgian Bay Area with 975 GBA members. There were many more partial responses. Overall great GBA participation!


Association 2020 members 12-Jul % of GBA Members
Bay of Islands 71 9 12.68%
Bayfield Nares 188 14 7.45%
Blackstone Lake 21 62 295.24%
Cognashene 372 161 43.28%
Deep Bay      
Honey Harbour 266 140 52.63%
Key River 53 72 135.85%
Mad Club 144 15 10.42%
Manitou 41 35 85.37%
McGregor Bay 153 16 10.46%
Northern Georgian Bay 32 20 62.50%
Pointe au Baril 631 65 10.30%
Sans Souci 394 108 27.41%
South Channel 95 40 42.11%
Twelve Mile Bay 14 33 235.71%
Wah Wah Taysee 38 25 65.79%
West Carling/North Sound 211 112 53.08%
Woods Bay 50 45 90.00%
Total GBA membership 2774 972