New – No-Wake Zone – Rideau River

August 31, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Newsletter

no-wake zones

The Honey Gables Community Association was asked to inquire about the recent installation of two new “No Wake” signs on the river heading up to Black rapids locks. Below is a copy of our letter and a response from Parks Canada. If you would like to follow up, comments and questions can be sent to

27 August 2019 

Dear Mr. Tweedie

Re: No-Wake Zone on the Rideau River 

I’m writing on behalf of the residents of Honey Gables and the Honey Gables Community Association. Our residents are concerned about the new No-Wake Zone signs that were recently installed in the river, just north of Honey Gables.

That area is extremely wide and our residents cannot understand why this particular area needs to be designated as a no-wake zone. 

This no-wake zone significantly impacts skiers, of which many live in Honey Gables as well as neighbouring communities. This change has greatly increased boat traffic in front of our homes which impacts kayakers and swimmers as many boaters avoid the designated area.

In addition, with the introduction of wake boats and now the new no-wake zones, residents are very concerned with the erosion we are experiencing on our waterfront properties. 

Can you please provide the rationale for this change as these signs are having a negative effect on our skiers and our waterfront? 

Warm regards, 

Sandi Branker Secretary, Honey Gables Community Association 

Dear Sandi Branker,

Thank you for your letter from the Honey Gables Community Association regarding no wake signs and erosion impacts in the Black Rapids reach.

I am happy to provide you with some background regarding the no-wake signage. Since 2001, Parks Canada has worked to manage competing interests along the Rideau Canal between Hogs Back and Kars.

A large portion of shoreline residents and canal users own motor boats and use the canal for pleasure boating and towing activities, including wake boarding/surfing, tubing, and water skiing.

Many other residents and canal users are concerned about the safety and environmental risks associated with boating, speeding and boat wakes, such as shoreline erosion/property damage, congestion and collision, and noise levels (including loud exhaust, noise, music and PA systems). Parks Canada has also received complaints from paddlers regarding boat wakes.

In an effort to regulate these competing interests Parks Canada has adopted a two pronged approached involving increasing enforcement efforts involving the Parks Canada warden service and our partner agencies like the Ottawa Police Service and updating our signs/ public awareness program.

As part of this effort Parks Canada recently replaced many of the faded ‘No Wake’ signs along this portion of the Rideau Canal.

Two new signs were also added in the Black Rapids reach area for safety and erosion control reasons. Comments and questions can be sent to – please provide this contact to your association members should they wish to contribute their views.

Parks Canada staff will be meeting before the end of the navigation season to discuss improvements to the sign program. Any field adjustments would be made for the next navigation season.

As your letter refers to erosion experienced by members of your community, I am sure you can appreciate the need for reduced speed and traffic calming measures like signs in this campaign.

Wakeboard boats present a special challenge in narrow sections of the canal. Absolute speed is not always the main reason for a vessel’s wake.

 A wake pattern left by a vessel will depend on its speed, boat type and water and weather conditions. Sometimes the addition of new signs can change the patterns of use.

It’s important to remember that watersport enthusiasts are only one group of stakeholders and their needs must balance against those of other Canadians who also contribute to the protection of Canada’s Heritage Canals. Further controls may be required.

Parks Canada wardens coordinate with the Ottawa City Police Marine Unit to conduct patrols during the navigation season.

Whenever possible, Parks Canada works to educate boaters about the damaging effects wakes have and how they can better manage their wakes.

Parks Canada also works with the City of Ottawa who manage Ecolands Park and other stakeholders to raise awareness on how to safely boat and respect other canal users and shoreline residents while on the Rideau Canal.

The Parks Canada publication Boating Safely provides information on how to safely manage your wake and is available at all lock stations.

I hope you find this information useful, and please let me know if you have other questions.

Scott Tweedie

A/ Operations Manager, Ontario Waterways 
Parks Canada / Government of Canada
34 Beckwith Street South, Smiths Falls ON K7A 2A8 / Tel: 613-283-7199 ext 219

I/ Directeur des opérations, Voies navigables de l’Ontario
Parcs Canada, Gouvernement du Canada
34 rue Beckwith sud, Smiths Falls, ON  K7A 2A8 / Tél. : 613-283-7199 ext 219

  1. Heather Gulyas said on August 31, 2019 3:14 pm:

    When and where are ‘Parks Canada staff’ meeting? Will public stakeholders be present to review and suggest adjustments? Specific to HG are they aware that this signage has resulted in boaters going around and around in circles in the middle of the RR in front of HG causing increased noise, traffic, erosion?