OPP urge caution on waterways as boating season kicks off
BARRIE, ONT. -- With boating season now underway, police are reminding the public of the importance of following and adhering to basic safety protocols.
According to the OPP, there have been 30 boat operators cited for various violations under the Canada Shipping Act so far this season. Police say that the activity has seen an increase in interest, attributing the growth recently to pandemic restrictions.
With many people new to the activity, OPP say it's crucial to ensure you are always prepared for what could go wrong.
"It's the safety equipment that's going to save your life," says OPP Constable Kris Beatty. "It's the safety equipment that you don't think about checking before departing or making sure that it's onboard the vessel before departing and to make sure that it's operational and to make sure that it's basically in good working order."
Beatty, who has specialized in the Marine Unit for 16 years, says the number one issue he sees is a lack of attention to ensuring all necessary equipment is on board before leaving shore.
"Frequently, time and time again, we're seeing people open up the safety equipment, and there's things missing out of the safety equipment or the batteries are dead in the flashlight," Beatty said. "People aren't knowledgeable about where the safety equipment is onboard the vessel."
If inspected by officers, each missing item could have a fine of up to $305. Beatty said it's not uncommon for lifejackets to be faded or ripped, which will impact their effectiveness.
Of the violations issued so far this year, many were for failing to have proper lifejackets for all passengers and for opened alcohol.