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Boating Water Levels for 2021

What’s the forecast for this year?

The water level at the start of the boating season generally tends to be quite low. They generally hit their minimum around January and then slowly rise through the summer months depending on several factors, which include:  how warm was the previous fall, the amount of snowfall over the winter and how fast was the spring melt.  It’ll be this summer when boaters need to be more careful.

So what’s the forecast for 2021?  According to The Government of Canada LEVELnews website, water levels on the Great Lakes will be down substantially from the record high water marks of the last 2 years.  Lake Superior’s level was the ninth highest December level ever recorded but still11 cm below last year’s level and Lake Michigan-Huron experienced its fourth highest level for the month but was also 11 cm below last year. The level of Lake Erie was its fourth highest for the month of December; 3 cm lower than last year. Lake Ontario was 9 cm above its average value and 38 cm lower than last year.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and Erie started January at their fourth and second highest levels in the period of record (1918-2019), respectively. Lake Ontario starts the year closer to its average seasonal level.  
Great Lakes Water Level Information: December 2020 Monthly Mean Level
Lake Compared to Monthly Average (1918–2019)       Compared to One Year Ago
Superior 22 cm above 11 cm below
Michigan-Huron 79 cm above 11 cm below
St. Clair 70 cm above 5 cm below
Erie 64 cm above 3 cm below
Ontario 9 cm above 38 cm below

How do you avoid hitting rock bottom?

Because water levels are expected to be lower than the last couple of years, boaters need to be aware of the increased dangers.  First and foremost training is key. It takes more than just a boat license. You need regular training, to consult the authorities for information, and to buy and read the maps of the bodies of water you’ll be boating in. Basically, you want to know as much as you can before hitting the water.
Second, once you’re out there, you have to navigate safely and cautiously. Be vigilant at all times. Keep an eye on the GPS and electronic map reader, stick to a reasonable speed, avoid venturing into unknown channels, stay between the buoys – essentially, follow good boating practices at all times. If you hit the wrong spot of a lake with an uneven bottom while cruising at 35 mph and your depth finder suddenly starts beeping, you won’t have time to react. Impact will be inevitable and the damage can come with serious consequences.
Third, make sure you know how to correctly use the tools at your disposal. Even when navigating at night, your GPS will show you things like reliefs, shallows and shorelines. But not everyone knows how to use an electronic chart reader or how to properly adjust the settings. Some don’t even know how to read and understand the directions from a GPS. Paper maps, on the other hand, are inexpensive and easy to understand. They’re also available everywhere. Most accidents could be avoided by simply following these few tips.

The Proper Boat Insurance

Unfortunately, despite all the precautions taken, accidents are going to happen.  Having the right insurance coverage in place with the right insurance company is crucial.  Not all boat insurance policies are the same and neither are insurance companies.  Claims service varies from company to company as does expertise.  The boating season is short enough in Ontario.  You don’t want to lose a huge chunk of it while your boat is laid up waiting for parts, or even worse, the insurance company to OK the repairs.  Insurers who have large marine departments are experts at settling claims quickly and fairly.  A lot of insurance companies are not , so the claim drags on way longer than necessary.

So, how do you no if you have the right insurance coverage with the right insurance company?  That’s where an experience boat insurance professional comes in.  They can make sure you have the right insurance with a company that will be there when you need them.  Let one of the Affiliated Insurance boat insurance experts help you property protect your boat and your boating season.  To get a fast, free quote on your boat insurance, just click below.