OPP Urges Boaters to Prioritize Safety with Essential Checklist for a Successful Boating Season

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OPP Urges Boaters to Prioritize Safety with Essential Checklist for a Successful Boating Season

Lifejacket usage, sobriety, preparedness, and cold water safety emphasized as key factors for boating safety

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – As boating season kicks into full swing, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding boaters of the crucial checklist that can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

Wearing a lifejacket remains a vital aspect of boating safety. Shockingly, out of the 130 boaters and paddlers who tragically lost their lives on OPP-patrolled waterways over the past five years, only 11 were wearing a lifejacket. With capsized vessels and falling overboard being the leading causes of boating fatalities year after year, the significance of wearing a lifejacket cannot be overstated.

Alcohol and drug consumption have no place on the water, regardless of whether you’re a power boater or paddler. Impaired operation of a vessel is a contributing factor in boating deaths annually, emphasizing the critical need to boat sober and drug-free.

Proper planning and preparedness are essential for a safe outing. Before heading out, ensure both you and your vessel are ready for the type of water adventure you have in mind. Take the time to check the weather forecast, assess your vessel’s working condition, ensure you have enough fuel, carry a fully charged cell phone, and always inform someone of your trip details, including your planned route and estimated return time.

Cold water safety is a significant concern, particularly in Ontario’s waterways where temperatures can remain frigid throughout the year. Even strong swimmers can be greatly affected by sudden cold-water immersion. Familiarize yourself with the 1-10-1 principle, which highlights the impact of cold water on your ability to swim or stay afloat. Remember, wearing a lifejacket significantly increases your chances of survival in case of an incident that lands you in the water.

Safe Boating Awareness Week, commencing this weekend, will see the OPP collaborate with the Canadian Safe Boating Council and other marine safety partners to promote water safety measures.

To shed light on the importance of these precautions, recent statistics reveal that among the 29 individuals who tragically lost their lives in OPP-investigated marine incidents in 2022, only two were wearing a lifejacket. The OPP Marine Program, consisting of approximately 400 highly trained marine officers and a fleet of 134 vessels, remains dedicated to enforcing boating laws and ensuring the safety of Ontario boaters across the vast expanse of the province’s lakes and rivers, covering over 110,000 square kilometers (95 percent).

Safe Boating Awareness Week will run from May 20 to 26, 2023, serving as a reminder for boaters to prioritize safety and adhere to essential guidelines for a successful and secure boating season.

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