This not the right time of year to go boating in Muskoka, unless it is necessary. Why?
1. The water is very cold and there are few, if any, rescue services available if any problems occur.
2. With the extraordinary degree of shoreline erosion and structural damage already done to docks and boathouses by the high water levels this spring, all boaters should be aware of the potential for hazardous vegetation and dock debris floating in the water. For safety, travelling at slow to moderate speeds and maintaining a careful lookout in the open water, for semi-submerged ice and debris, is recommended to prevent hull and motor damage.
3. With respect to boat wakes, please operate your boat at an appropriate speed and trim, if slow with your ‘bow down’, to not create a wake which can cause further erosion to sensitive shoreline properties or further damages to already flood-weakened docks and boathouses. Look behind to see how big your wake really is. Shore nesting birds (e.g., loons and ducks) and nearshore animals (e.g., muskrat and beaver) will also be affected by excessive wakes during this high water time.`
4. The Canada Shipping Act makes all boaters responsible for any damage caused to the property of others (boats, buildings and land) as one operates one’s own boat. Given the extraordinary amount of new damage caused by the on-going high water events on the main lakes (i.e., during the flooding), boating now while the water remains very high could make a boater personally responsible for damages caused by their wake to an already-damaged property.