Safety on the Mazinaw
At the 2020 AGM, I was asked to discuss the park-related water safety concerns that our members have with the canoe/kayak rentals operators and the Superintendent of Bon Echo Provincial Park, and to send out a communication to our MPOA members.
I have created a full document, which you can download from our website below. As well, there is a one-page document that you can use as a template to leave at your cottage for guests or renters (also downloadable below).
After polling those who attended the AGM for more information, they provided a number of anecdotal situations and issues, which have been summarized and can be found in the larger document. To summarize, the most prevalent issues are addressed here.
After discussing these with the Superintendent of Bon Echo Park, we are collaborating on action plans to try to address some of these concerns. These too are all outlined in the larger document. The Superintendent was very supportive of a partnered approach to championing water safety initiatives and has already implemented a few action items that he committed to.
As well, I met with a constable at the Kaladar OPP detachment where I was given advice on what you can do when you see a situation that causes you concern.
- One of the main issues was related to paddlers (canoeists, kayakers, SUPs) clearing the narrows and asking paddlers to go outside of the buoys, between the buoys and the shore, to allow motorized vehicles to go through the channel. What I have learned is this is not a viable option as paddlers have the same right to pass through the channel and in fact if they go outside of the channel they may hit their paddles on the rocks. What we can ask them to do however is to clear the channel faster, and wait until it is safe to enter (not passing in front of a boat that is already in the channel). The Superintendent and I discussed various ways to address this, all documented in the larger document.
- As well, there were many points about canoeists not understanding the rules or knowing how to paddle a canoe (e.g. sitting backwards, standing, facing each other, not knowing how to handle the wake of boats) and swimmers crossing the water without the use of a support boat. The Superintendent and I discussed various ways to address this as well, again captured in the larger document.
- Of great concern were motorized boats (boats of various sizes, Personal Water Craft, boats pulling skiers or tubes) that make waves that capsize paddlers, occasionally causing MPOA members to have to rescue them. This is especially true when pulling a tube and making tons of waves for the enjoyment of their passengers. The OPP constable noted that operating a boat in an unsafe manner (e.g. not paying attention to others using the waterway) can lead to a charge of ‘careless operation of a vessel’ and a $450 fine.
- The last major concern was related to motorized boats that come too close to shore, especially in congested areas such as along the cliff, or where people, children and pets are swimming off their docks. As noted by the OPP constable, the law states that you may not exceed 10 km per hour when you are within 30 metres (100 feet) of shore. This is one of the things the OPP look for when they are on the water. If you are concerned for the safety of your family and guests swimming near your cottage when boats are travelling faster/closer than this, there are steps you can take which were provided to me by the OPP constable and have been outlined in the larger document.
We as cottagers are fortunate to enjoy our time on the Mazinaw; boating, fishing, swimming, and 'chillaxing' on the dock. We live near a beautiful Provincial Park and the guests of Bon Echo are also fortunate to enjoy their time here. There are also some AirBnB places, property owners that rent their cottages, and a large trailer park on the lake. Through mutual respect, a little patience, and some education and awareness initiatives, we can all champion water safety on Mazinaw Lake.
Please note that if you are an owner of an AirBnB on the lake, or rent out your cottage, would you kindly consider leaving out a one page “Mazinaw Etiquette” on your table for your guests to review? The MPOA's one page “Mazinaw Etiquette” document that can be downloaded from the website, which you can use as a template or as is.
Please enjoy a safe rest of the summer. Any questions or concerns can be sent to lakemazinaw.ca.