There is no denying the fact that Lac du Bonnet waterways get busier every year. Last year, a VORR Committee was developed by the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet to conduct an analysis of waterway use along the Pinawa Channel and Lee River, which led to some helpful information that can help waterway users share the waterways respectfully with all recreational users.
Transportation Canada regulates our waterways. They are navigable waterways, which means that equitable access for all users and activities is required by Federal law.
This summer, let’s focus on sharing our waterways to create a safe and enjoyable experience for all recreational users. For your best Lac du Bonnet waterway experience, we suggest:
1. Be mindful of the distance between your vessel and the others around you. Crowding other vessels on the waterways makes people feel unsafe – no one likes being tailgated on the roadway or waterway.
2. Mind your speed. Remember that you may have to stop or turn suddenly to avoid a collision, so operate at a safe speed. It is illegal to operate near shorelines at speeds greater than 10km/p within 30 meters (100 feet) of the shore. The shoreline is a popular place for swimmers and paddlers; let’s give them space to enjoy playing safely too.
3. Leave plenty of space around vessels participating in towing activities. Should someone who is being towed on tubes, skis, or wakeboards fall into the water, you need to be at a safe enough distance that you will not run them over.
4. Avoid erratic driving behaviour while out on the waterways. Just as you stay in your lane while driving, pick a lane and stick with it on the waterways.
5. Taking watersport activities like skiing, surfing and wakeboarding to the wider section of the Lee River (North of the ‘Rock Pile’ or Lake Lac du Bonnet.
6. Never try to spray swimmers, or cut in front of or try to jump the wake of other vessels. Some of the worst boating incidents happen when operators misjudge speed or distance.
7. Watch your wake. A boat’s wake can damage other vessels, docks and the shoreline. It can also be a risk for swimmers, divers and people on small boats that might capsize. Be aware of how your boat’s wake might affect others when choosing your speed. You will be responsible for any damages or harm you cause.
8. Keep your music volume low, especially in the evenings and at night. Remember that sound travels further on the water, so when you play your music too loudly, you are causing a nuisance for those trying to enjoy some quiet time or sleep
About the Safe Boating Ambassador Program
The Safe Boating Ambassador program is a community-driven initiative designed to increase boating safety and etiquette awareness in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba specific to the Lee River and Pinawa Channel. Working together, we will contribute to the education of safe waterway use by promoting:
1. Waterway safety, as governed by Transport Canada, and
2. General good boating etiquette for specific activities, focusing on those that occur on our waterways.
The Safe Boating Ambassadors are members of the boating community, avid paddlers, stand-up paddleboarders, wake surfers, water skiers, and boaters. The members will act as Waterway Safety Leaders for the community of Lac du Bonnet, sharing and encouraging all waterway users to safely partake in all waterway activities.