Police offer boating safety tips

With the arrival of warm summer weather and schools completed for another year, many families will be heading to local waterways for their summer get-away.

The County OPP is offering a few simple Marine Safety tips to help keep families safe, while enjoying many activities upon the water this summer.

OPP Constable Mark Cloes said one is to always wear a lifejacket or PFD (personal flotation device)

The majority of drowning victims could have been saved if they took the time to wear a lifejacket. Each person on a boat or watercraft should wear a PFD that fits snugly and securely. That simple step really does save lives.

Use common sense and operate any vessels responsibly. If using common sense, people can avoid nearly all boating accidents. Operate the watercraft at safe speeds at all times, especially in crowded areas. Be courteous of others using the water and obey all boating rules. Be cautious of swimmers and other marine operators, and always have a spotter for water-skiers and tube riders. Stay alert.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol and watercrafts do not mix. The probability of being injured on the water doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have also shown that the effects of the sun and wind can make people feel as if they have consumed more alcohol than they actually have. Legislation in Ontario means impaired boaters face the same penalties as impaired drivers, including the loss of driving privileges. That includes motorized and non-motorized vessels, canoes, kayaks, or rafts.

Let other family members know the destination and the time of expected return.

For more information visit www.boatingsafety.gc.ca.