OPP share marine safety tips ahead of Safe Boating Awareness Week
Ahead of Safe Boating Awareness Week, May 20 to 26, 2023, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have released safety reminders for boaters and paddlers who plan to enjoy the waterways this season.
“The 29 people who lost their lives in OPP-investigated marine incidents in 2022 were made up of 18 boat operators, seven passengers and four people in the water. Only two of the deceased were wearing a lifejacket,” the OPP stated.
In a release from the OPP, dated Friday, May 19, 2023, police remind boaters that a safe boating season comes down to a simple, yet important checklist before and during a boat outing:
Wear your lifejacket
Only 11 of the 130 boaters/paddlers who have died on OPP-patrolled waterways in the last five years were wearing a lifejacket. With capsized vessels and falling overboard the leading causes of boating fatalities every year, the life-saving value of wearing a lifejacket cannot be overstated.
Boat sober and drug-free
Whether you are a power boater or paddler, alcohol and drug consumption have no place on the water. Every year, impaired operation of a vessel is a contributing factor in boating deaths.
Plan and be prepared
Ensure you and your vessel are up for the type of water adventure you’re planning. Always check the weather forecast, make sure your vessel is in good working condition, have sufficient fuel and a fully charged cell phone, and always ensure someone knows when and where you are going, and when you expect to be back.
Be cold water safe
With many of Ontario’s waterways very cold year-round, even the best swimmers will feel the effects of sudden cold-water immersion. Familiarizing yourself with the 1-10-1 principle will help you understand how ending up in cold water can severely impact your ability to swim or even stay afloat. It will also remind you that your best chance of surviving an incident that lands you in the water is to wear your lifejacket!
Safe Boating Awareness Week kicks off this weekend, and the OPP and its Marine Program members will be promoting safety on the water in partnership with the Canadian Safe Boating Council and other marine safety partners, according to the release.