The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Snowmobile, Vessel, ATV, Enforcement team (SAVE) is advising the public on boating safety this week, National Safe Boating Week.
For many boaters, this is the first time on the water since last season. With that in mind, it’s a great time to check your boat and safety gear to ensure everything is in proper working order and fully accessible should the need arise. Double check your lifejackets and PFD’s, they are literally life savers!! Make sure they still fit and check for rips, broken buckles and zippers. Ensure they are clean and dry. Lifejackets with rips, tears, broken items and heavy mold/mildew must be replaced immediately. If you use the inflator-type lifejackets, they must be worn at all times unless other typical PFDs are onboard. Ensure your fire extinguisher (if required) is fully charged, the flashlight works and has fresh batteries and flares (if required) are not expired. If you trailer your boat, give it a check as well. Look at the tires, lights, chains and tie downs.
Once you reach the launch, ensure the drain plug is in!!!!
Sadly, two people have died in OPP patrolled areas of eastern Ontario in the past two weeks in separate incidents after their boats, a kayak and a canoe, capsized. In both cases the victims were not wearing a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD).
The water is still very cold and even strong swimmers may be unable to cope with the cold water shock and may lose muscle control very quickly. Always wear a life jacket, it will significantly increase your chance of sur- viving the cold water. Share your plans and a timeline with someone you trust. Check the weather before you go out. Ensure that you have the necessary safety equipment on board.
SAVE and other OPP marine teams will be on the water throughout the season to both educate and enforce. Please keep in mind that, just like driving your car, you can be charged with impaired operation of a boat. It has the same penalties and can have the same deadly results. Please do not be a statistic!!
Your lifejacket only works if you’re WEARING IT!