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OPP offer tips to enjoy a safe boating season

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With boat launches now open, the OPP is reminding boaters to stay safe on the waterways this summer.

All vessels require certain items onboard before departure, including:

  • 15 metre floating heavy line
  • Watertight flashlight
  • Whistle or some type of sound signalling device
  • Bailing bucket
  • A paddle or an oar
  • Lifejackets or personal flotation devices’s (PFD) for every person on board
  • Depending on the size of the vessel and motor being used, it may require proper flares and a fire extinguisher

Officials say when leaving to go on a boat, always make sure you wear a lifejacket or PFD. Ensure that you have the required safety equipment on board, never go boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and check the weather. When you leave, make sure someone knows where you are headed.

Police add that while the weather is warming, water temperatures remain frigid and that lifejackets can keep you floating if you become hypothermic. In the past 10 years, 80 per cent of people who died in OPP investigated incidents were not wearing lifejackets or PFD’s.

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Officials say that over that same time frame, 40 per cent of all boating fatalities on OPP patrolled waterways can be linked to operating the vessel when impaired by alcohol or drugs. Operating a boat while impaired carries the same penalties as operating a vehicle impaired.

The OPP add this year will be a bit different with COVID-19 playing a part. With fewer boaters on the water, there could be less chance of having help close at hand should you encounter troubling waters.

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