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May '13

Safe Boating Awareness Week Gets Underway - May 18-24, 2013


Safe Boating Awareness Week Gets Underway


When it comes to public safety, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) expects no less of boaters and paddlers navigating Ontario waterways than they do of motorists travelling on Ontario roads.


With Safe Boating Awareness Week getting underway next week (May 18-24, 2013), the OPP is reminding all boaters and paddlers that being well-informed and focused on safe boating practices is a sure-fire way to enjoy a tragedy-free boating season.


Responsible for policing more than 94,000 square kilometres of Ontario waterways, the OPP is highly familiar with the causes of boating fatalities every year. According to the OPP, the hard facts about how preventable they are lie in the statistics.


Last year (2012), the OPP investigated 20 fatal boating incidents in which 22 persons lost their lives. Twelve of these people were boat operators and 10 were passengers.


Eighteen of the 22 victims were not wearing Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) and in many of those incidents, the vessel either capsized or the victim fell overboard. Eight of the 20 fatal incidents involved either a canoe, kayak or sailboat. Regardless of what type of vessel you are in when the time comes and you really need that PFD, remember that "It won't work if you don't wear it". Over and above the risk of hypothermia, cold water immersion poses another immediate threat to boaters who fall overboard or whose vessels capsize.


Seven of last year’s boating deaths involved alcohol consumption. The motto on the road is “if you drink, don’t drive”. It is the same on the water and so are the laws, right down to immediately having your driver’s licence suspended if you are in the "Warn Range".


Factoring in weather is also key to a safe boating season. Make an informed decision and use sound judgement when deciding the best time to head out on the water.


Familiarize yourself with the boat you are operating and ensure that it is properly prepared for the boating season. Remember that the law requires anyone operating a motorized water vessel to have a pleasure craft operating card.


For more information about Safe Boating Awareness Week, visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council website.

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