Manage Your Wake 

See how  you can be wake wise on the water - click here

(Article from Muskoka Watershed Council)

Charleston Lake has a very fragile environment. Fish, wildlife habitat, shorelines and shoreline structures are vulnerable to damage from boat wakes.

What is Wake?

  • Wake is the disturbed column of water around and behind a boat as it makes its way through the water.

  • Wash is a specific component of wake consisting of loose and broken water and includes water thrown a by the propeller and the waves that roll off the side of the boat

What causes Wake?

  • The size of a boat’s wake depends on the hull size, boat speed, distance from shore, and depth of water the boat is operating in.

  • Naturally occurring wind-driven waves tend to have low frequency and are relatively slow moving. Unlike natural waves, boat wake travels at the speed of the boat and wake frequencies are often high.

  • The combination of a wake’s high speed, height and wave frequency makes it dangerous to others and damaging to shoreline areas, built shoreline structures and wildlife habitat.

What’s the Big Deal?

  • Wake can create damage in an instant or over a longer period, depending on the circumstances.

  • Wake striking our shorelines can cause rapid and severe erosion, exposing the roots of vegetation and causing the banks to collapse.

  • Wake impact and prop wash can churn up sediments, degrading the aquatic environment for plants, animals and cottagers.

  • Wakes can rock, swamp or capsize other boats. Passengers can be thrown off balance or overboard when another boat passes too fast and too close.

  • Wakes can damage boats secured to docks. A large wake taken broadside causes a boat to rock severely, no matter how tightly it is tied to the dock. A large wake taken on the stern or bow can pull mooring hardware from the boat, the dock, or both!

  • Wakes build on each other in areas of heavy boating traffic, increasing the impact on shorelines.

Tips to Manage Your Wake

When the bow lifts and the stern dips, the wake begins to build. Big wakes are caused by boats cruising with the bow high and the stern deep.

  • Within 30 metres of shore and in narrow channels, reduce speed to LEAVE NO WAKE.

  • Travel 30 metres from your dock to deeper water before accelerating to a higher speed. It’s the law -- see the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations!

  • In the open lake far from shore, cruise at a speed that minimizes wake.  Coming off the plane, pass through the transition phase smoothly and safely, getting the boat level in displacement speed without delay. Operate your boat as far away as possible from shore, docks and other boats.

  • Position your passengers throughout the boat, not only at the stern, in order to reduce the time spent while in transition speed.

  • When passing another boat or shore structure, stay as far away as possible, as your wake may cause the operator of the other vessel to lose control or may cause damage to a dock or boathouse.

  • When in shallow water, avoid churning up the bottom sediment. Look behind you to see and understand the impact of your wake. Adjust your speed to minimize impact.

You are Responsible

  • The Small Vessel Regulations state that “no person shall operate a small vessel in a careless manner, without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons.”

  • The fine for operating a vessel in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property and for failure to control wake resulting in danger to the safety of persons or property is $200.

  • You are also responsible for the cost of repair or restitution for damage and discomfort your boat causes to people, objects, wildlife and shoreline.

  • Except in limited circumstances, under the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations, boaters are required to slow down when within 30 metres of shore. Failure to comply with this regulation can result in a fine.

  • This regulation aims to provide for enforcement of slower speeds close to shore to reduce wake damage. Responsible boaters should reduce speed near shore to PRODUCE NO WAKE.​