Safe Boating Awareness Week

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OPP Marine Stop
Photo Courtesy of the Ontario Provincial Police

The 2021 Canada Safe Boating Week runs May 22-24. This initiative is designed to increase public compliance with safe boating measures and ultimately, to save lives. The OPP will be looking for impaired driving, carriage requirements for lifejackets and Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s), Liquor Licence Act offences and Canada Shipping Act 2001 offences.

A properly fitted lifejacket, is not only designed to keep boaters and paddlers afloat, but also helps turn them onto their backs, enabling them to breathe if they are rendered unconscious.

“The OPP want to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe boating season. There look to be more people on the waterways, so all the more reason to wear your lifejacket or PFD and no drinking and boating. Impaired operation on the water carries the same fines and penalties as on the highway. Help keep our waterways safe for everyone.”  – Staff Sergeant Rob Walsh, Operations Manager – East Algoma OPP.

On those beautiful sunny days, most of us want to get out on the water to use our boats. Just remember that any vessel being underway that has any type of motor, requires the operator to possess a valid Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) or proof of competency equivalence.

And, any vessel on the water (even paddleboats and canoes) require all the necessary safety equipment on board.

The standard equipment includes:

  • 15m floating heaving line
  • watertight flashlight
  • whistle – *must be Pealess* (or some type of sound signaling device, i.e. horn, or portable air horn, etc.)
  • bailing bucket
  • a paddle or an oar
  • lifejackets or Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s) for every person on board (*self-inflating PFD’s must be worn*)
  • and depending on the size of the vessel and motor being used, it may require proper flares and a fire extinguisher

Horsepower and age restrictions:

  • under 12yrs. may operate a boat with up to 10hp
  • 12yrs. – 16yrs. may operate a boat with up to 40hp
  • under 16 yrs. regardless of supervision shall NOT operate a personal watercraft (Sea-doo, Jet-ski, Waverunner)
  • 16yrs. and older, there are no horsepower restrictions

Should you observe a suspected impaired driver, please dial 911 or contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

The OPP remains committed to saving lives on Ontario roads, waterways and trails. The OPP polices approximately 100,000 square kilometres of Ontario waterways.