St. Lawrence Seaway Wake Restrictions Announced

Published on: 2020/04/30 - in News

The St. Lawrence Seaway has agreed to wake restrictions in narrow sections of the Seaway effective April 28, 2020, according to Save The River Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper.

Save The River executive director John Peach and Thousand Islands Safe Boating Association (TISBA) President John McCullough were informed of the decision yesterday by Seaway administrator Craig Middlebrook.

“The Seaway Corporations have been monitoring water levels, and this morning issued Notice to Shipping No. 23, which is similar to the notice we issued on April 23, 2019, reminding mariners to minimize their wake, particularly when navigating close to shore,” Middlebrook said in an email. “As we did last year, we will continue to monitor water levels and vessel speeds and take actions as required to minimize vessel wakes.”

Middlebrook’s email was in response to earlier correspondence from Save The River and TISBA asking for speed restrictions on ships due to the potential of wake damage during this high water season on the River, although recent notices from the International Joint Commission point to lower water levels on the River this season.

“Save The River’s advocacy to delay the opening of the Seaway to allow the International Lake Ontario St Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) to discharge the highest outflows possible was a key component of lowering the water levels” said John Peach of Save The River. “Shipping’s cooperation while the ILOSLRB kept discharge rates high during the month of April was also essential to getting as much water as possible off Lake Ontario and the Upper St. Lawrence River during this period – which will extend until the threat of extreme highwater abates this summer.”

For 42 years, Save The River has been the leading grassroots environmental advocacy organization fighting for the ecological integrity of the St. Lawrence River. Save The River takes an active role in River policy issues by engaging decision-makers, community leaders, residents, visitors and volunteers to make positive change. Every year Save The River works with educators in school districts in the watershed to educate 1,500+ students in a place-based curriculum that stresses age-appropriate aspects of stewardship.

Photo (submitted) by Heidi Blackwell