Georgian College students use technology to raise awareness about boating safety

Georgian College students use technology to raise awareness about boating safety

Population growth coupled with high tourism rates during the boating season means there are more people on Muskoka lakes and waterways than ever before. Georgian College, Research and Innovation partnered with non-profit Safe Quiet Lakes to support the organization’s goal to “make Muskoka lakes safer and quieter to ensure the sustainable enjoyment of a treasured, shared resource.”

Led by Professor Joachim Schmidt, third-year Georgian Environmental Technology students Jesse Bloor, Patrick Higgins, and Kayla Vandenburg applied their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills to support Safe Quiet Lakes’ efforts. Higgens notes that his project group used ESRI StoryMaps to “visually show motor craft operators how their boats’ wake and noise impact nearby shorelines.” Boaters operating closer to shore than appropriate for their activity can cause environmental and property damage, injuries and fear.

Greg Wilkinson, member of the Safe Quiet Lakes Board of Directors, describes the project as “part of the work of a committee that is addressing lake community concerns about wakes and speed.” Community surveys reveal that addressing boating safety, noise, wakes and reckless boating remains a priority for residents of the area. Wilkinson accredits the students with bringing a fresh perspective and ideas that “enabled the volunteers to accelerate the work on the Mapping Project and learn about some of the cartography issues and opportunities.”

Safe Quiet Lakes continues their education, research and advocacy this summer by conducting one of the largest surveys of boaters in North America to learn more about their concerns and what action is warranted. The results of the survey will be available in late August at

To find out more about Georgian’s Research and Innovation department and to learn more about partnership opportunities contact

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