Boating Safety Contribution Program – Success Story

Project: Intensified Education Program, District of Muskoka and West Parry Sound

Newsletter 3
January 2015

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Recipient:Safe Quiet Lakes (SQL)
Funding Year: 2014-15
Location: Rousseau, ON

Concerned Muskoka cottagers and residents formed Safe Quiet Lakes (SQL) in 2011 to address increased speed and noise from, and unsafe behaviour of, a growing numbers of boaters.

The SQL began to build awareness and support through local media and by using community gatherings to “start the conversation” about safe, quiet and respectful boating.  In 2013, they worked with ERIN Research on a Lake Activity Survey to gather fact-based data on lake use and the interests of lake users.  Survey results helped the SQL build an effective awareness and education campaign.

With support from Transport Canada’s Boating Safety Contribution Program (BSCP), the SQL was able to:

  • Increase the type, quantity, frequency and distribution of their educational materials throughout the Muskoka and West Parry Sound areas. 
  • Hire a summer Distribution Coordinator to help deliver the campaign. 

During the 2014 season, the Project:

  • Met with 15 marina owner/operators, 22 lake associations and retailers.
  • Distributed promotional materials at 11 special events.
  • Designed, produced and distributed 6,000 “Boater’s Code” and “You’re Not Alone on the Water” post cards, 400 information brochures for marinas, 500 business cards and 2,400 “Right of Way” stickers.
  • Produced and installed 30 permanent weather proof boater’s signs at 22 locations such as marinas and launching ramps.
  • Designed, produced and installed 2 large bill boards on busy highways.
  • Paid local media stations to air a 15 second public service announcement, with a potential for making over 500,000 “impressions”.
  • Distributed a newsletter to nearly 1,200 people, associations and government contacts.
  • Received 10,952 views on the SQL website.

The SQL database has grown significantly this year, which allowed them to communicate regularly to:

  • 80 lake associations and rate payer groups. Of these, 22 have either added links from their website to SQL’s site or have written about SQL in their newsletters;
  • 112 organizations;
  • 876 people who requested SQL information; and
  • The Federation of Ontario Cottagers (FOCA), which represents 50,000 families and 500 property associations whose websites now carry a link to SQL’s site.

Lessons learned:

  • The new Distribution Coordinator position greatly increased the SQL’s reach and impact from previous years.
  • It takes time and continual effort to build relationships with lake associations and other groups.  SQL should not underestimate the time it could take to build such relationships outside of its original area of operation.
  • Since many stakeholders are too busy in the summer months to participate in its activities, the SQL will begin to engage them in the spring, fall and winter seasons.

The SQL reputation and awareness grew greatly during the 2014 boating season. In fact, it received requests for materials and partnerships from many organizations that were not in its 2014 plan! These contacts included:

  • The Federation of Ontario Cottagers (FOCA) representing 50,000 families and 500 property associations.
  • Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada.
  • The Marine Manufacturers Association.
  • Georgian Bay Association.

The SQL plans to carefully explore these affiliations throughout the winter 2015, for opportunities to partner in distributing materials and sharing the costs of expanding its reach.

To learn more about the SQL, please visit their website at

Project: Promoting boating safety: Restigouche River and its tributaries

Newsletter 2
May 2014

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Recipient: Restigouche River Watershed Management Council (RRWMC)
Funding Year: 2013-14
Location: Québec and New Brunswick

The Restigouche River Watershed Management Council (RRWMC) project aimed to increase knowledge of the Restigouche river users and its tributaries on the elements of water safety, especially about the laws and regulations that are in place, proper carriage equipment and boating behaviours.

The RRWMC was established in 2002. They ensure conservation and restoration of the Restigouche River salmon resource and its habitat as well as provide information and education on boating safety, respect for users and for the wildlife. This specific territory includes both Québec and New Brunswick municipalities. The river system has a large variety of vessels that circulate and share the waters, including over 200 powerboats and approximately 3000 canoes. There are many factors that come into play regarding boating safety such as alcohol consumption, conflicts between users, pollution, noise and speed which have elevated the need for better education regarding boating safety.

With the support of Transport Canada’s Boating Safety Contribution Program, the RRWMC was able put in place a boating safety education summer program that involved joint patrols by both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). During the 2013 season, the Project:

  • Provided presentations to 5 high schools (over 560 students) prior to the summer about the importance of boating safety with an emphasis on boating and alcohol.
  • Organized and participated at two public events (Promotion Plus Baie des Chaleurs and the Salmon Festival) with over 5000 people in attendance.
  • Produced and distributed boating safety information (pamphlets, brochures, etc.) to over 2500 people.
  • Produced and erected signage that highlighted boating safety laws and regulations at key launching docks and permanent signage at heavily populated areas such as camping sites.
  • Planned and carried out 3 joint patrols with the RCMP, SQ and a wildlife officer on the Restigouche river and the RCMP carried out 2 more in the estuary of the river.
  • Designed and conducted a survey with over 79 recreational boaters of the river to acquire a better understanding of boater knowledge and behaviour and to improve future communications to them.

Lessons learned:

  • Their original intent was to educate more senior year students because of their final year parties, but they discovered that this also involved other students. The school presentations were adjusted to expand their original scope.
  • Following the joint patrols, the RRWMC identified an increase in the number of inflatable boats and tubes users that did not have lifejackets or other safety equipment on board. They therefore increased their efforts to communicate boating safety information through local radio public announcements.

Finally, through the surveys, it was reported that activities with higher risk of accidents were motorized canoes followed by paddle boats. The highest causes for the accidents were related to the consumption of alcohol and the lack of lifejackets on board.

For more information on the RRWMC, please visit their website at

Sproat Lake Marine Patrol (SLMP) – Promoting Boating Safety Awareness

Newsletter 1
December 2013

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“Kids don’t float – Wear your Life Jacket”
“Drowning doesn’t discriminate”

Recipient: Regional-District of Alberni-Clayoquot
Funding Year: 2013-14
Area: British Columbia

Created in 2002, the Sproat Lake Marine Patrol (SLMP) spent another boating season delivering safe boating programs to students and serving recreational boaters. Located 13 KM northwest of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Sproat Lake is a popular spot for recreational boaters.  It covers 10,476 acres and is home to 2,100 year-round residents.  During the summer, the population increases to over 10,000 each year.

The SLMP program gives away information sheets and maps, loans life jackets and helps boaters at the boat launch, which can number as many as 150 boats per day.  They also patrol out on the water looking for boating hazards and marking them to make them visible to boaters; conduct water tests; and much more.

With the support of Transport Canada’s Boating Safety Contribution Program, the SLMP was able to expand its boating safety education program.  They hired four students, two of whom spent late May through June visiting schools and presenting boating safety practices to over 853 elementary, middle and high school students and their teachers.  They also offered an instructor evaluation form for teachers.

During the 2013 season, the Project also:

  • Gave boating safety information to over 500 people at an ‘Our Town’ event in July.
  • Offered 65 Pleasure Craft Courtesy Checks (PCCC) at boat launches. This helped ensure boaters had all the required safety gear and proof of competency such as the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) on board before they left shore.
  • Loaned 42 life jackets to boaters who needed one, through its PFD Loaner Program.
  • Gave away nearly 5,000 handouts on boating safety, boating etiquette, required safety equipment and boat launching tips, as well as maps of the lake. They also gave boating safety kits to boaters who did not have the required equipment on board.

The SLMP is happy to report that there were no boating accidents at Sproat Lake during the 2013 boating season. It also invites you to view a video about its activities on Youtube and their website

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