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Stay safe on the water this weekend, OPP urge

As some marinas and boat launches re-open today, there are some safety rules to remember while you're on the water
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With Safe Boating Awareness Week getting underway this weekend, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is partnering with the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) to remind boaters and paddlers about the main dos and don'ts for getting through a safe boating season.

DO wear a life jacket. It doesn't suffice to just have one nearby on your vessel. The only safe life jacket is the one you're wearing.  

In the last 10 years, 80 per cent of the people who died in OPP-investigated boating incidents were not wearing a life jacket. It is important for paddlers to wear them too as canoes and kayaks were among the top three vessel types involved in the fatalities over the last 10-year period. 

Two people died last weekend, May 9, 2020, when their canoe capsized off Manitoulin Island. Neither of the paddlers was wearing a life jacket.

DON'T take your boat out if you've consumed any amount of alcohol or drugs. Even prescription drugs can impair your ability to safely navigate your vessel or deal with an emergency.

Almost 40 per cent of boating fatalities in the last 10 years involved alcohol or drugs.

DO be wary of the dangers of cold water immersion.

In the last decade, 43 of the 229 boating fatalities occurred between the months of January and May, when water is either freezing or cold enough for hypothermia to set in.

DON'T take your boat out unless both you and your vessel are fully prepared. Every year, the OPP is called out to stranded boaters who failed to properly check their vessels and plan their trip. 

Ensure your boat is properly equipped. Be sure to have sufficient fuel and only go out if the weather makes it safe to do so.

DO take a safe boating course. A boating course will educate you about keeping you and your family safe on the water.

During the week-long safe boating campaign, members of the OPP Marine Program will join marine partners across Canada as they conduct enforcement on waterways and educate boaters and paddlers about staying safe.