A new campaign from the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) wants to highlight the damage boat wakes can do.

The Federation is launching their #WakeAware campaign to educate boaters in Cottage Country about how they affect wildlife, shorelines, swimmers, and other boaters. FOCA’s President Terry Rees says with new boaters and larger craft on lakes across the region, they want people to be safe on the waterways and be aware of their surroundings.

While boat wakes may seem like any other waves, Rees says they have a bigger impact than most people realize. Large boats can create a safety hazard to smaller craft if their wake is too large.

Rees has heard concerns from cottagers about waves damaging docks and even other boats across the region. Boats can also cause an environmental impact, contributing to shoreline erosion and disturbing the nesting areas of shoreline birds like loons.

Rees says the goal of the #WakeAware campaign is to make people understand that they can control the impact their boat makes on the water. He is advising boaters to look both in front and behind their craft to monitor what their wake is doing to the surrounding area.

When leaving a dock into open water, Rees suggests slowing down and keeping the bow down close to the water. Keeping speeds below 10 km/hr within 30 meters of shore will reduce the impact wakes have on shorelines. Rees also says to keep speeds down while passing other boaters so that everyone can be safe and enjoy the water.

He also is encouraging those who use large wakes for watersports to take their fun to the middle of lakes, which will help reduce the impact their waves have on shorelines, boaters, and property.