Transport Canada gathering opinions on small vessel noise

Transport Canada is inviting the public to have a say in whether changes should be made to regulations that address noise in small vessels, by which we mean engine/exhaust noise, not the noise made by partying boaters. You can register at the link above to post a comment on its proposed (in)actions. Comments are open until May 13. When I checked this morning, 96 people had posted.

As Transport Canada states:

The Small Vessel Regulations currently require that all power-driven vessels be equipped with a muffler. This requirement helps make sure that the engine noise from power-driven vessels is limited to avoid disturbing the environment and others using the waterway. 

While a muffler is required, the regulations don’t include any performance standards for mufflers or engine noise emission limits. 

These gaps have led to concerns that vessel engine noise sometimes exceeds acceptable levels. Police have also noted that it’s hard to enforce the current requirements as they lack the technical expertise needed to identify whether a muffler is properly equipped or not. 

Transport Canada is looking at several ways to address these concerns.

Possible actions include doing nothing at all, clarifying and modernizing existing requirements, introducing performance standards for manufacturers, introducing performance standards for vessel operators, or introducing performance standards for both.

A group called the Decibel Coalition, representing a variety of municipalities and lake resident associations, is pressing for change and encouraging people to have their say. As reported here, “In a survey conducted in the Georgian Bay, Muskoka and Haliburton regions, 67 per cent of respondents said they want police to enforce the law, and 64 per cent say they want decibel limits placed on boat motors. However, [Rob Bosomworth, Chair of the Decibel Coalition]  also notes that municipalities have, in the past, not been able to enforce solutions and says a cross-country group is needed to enforce the laws.”

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