With fishing season now open and the beaches and waterways coming to life in June the O.P.P are once again reminding people to be safe on the water. The 3 “L’s” as Sgt Robert Croth describes them are:
- Liquor: There is to be no open liquor on any vessel unless it is moored and has adequate washroom facilities
- License: You need a boaters license to operate a boat and it must be on your person while on the water.
- Life Jacket: EVERYONE must have a life jacket and ensure that they fit snuggly and are the right size for your weight.
Sgt. Croth recalled that there were two marine-related fatalities in our area in 2015 and they were the result of operating a watercraft while impaired and not having an adequate PFD (Personal Floatation device). Both tragically preventable.
In the Carleton Place area, 6 marine officers work out of the Lanark County detachment of the O.P.P along with 1 marine student and the SAVE unit that is based in Smiths Falls. The O.P.P also have 2 vessels that they use to monitor the local lakes and rivers. Sgt. Croth stressed that it is important for the public to assist in keeping the waterways safe for boaters and swimmers by driving cautiously and obeying speed limits, recognizing marine signage, having a spotter when towing a skier or tuber and calling 911 if you suspect a boater to be impaired. When calling 911 to report a marine issue make sure to note location and description of the vessel or hull number.
There are a number of things the O.P.P recommends at the start of the boating season. If you plan on operating a boat, even if just renting one during a holiday, it is important to get your boat license. There are various local stores that host licensing events onsite throughout the summer but it can also be obtained online at: boaterexam.com. A marine emergency kit is a valuable addition to a vessel and one can be purchased locally for as little as $11. Also, don’t forget to check your trailer before heading out to the boat launch or cottage. Check the tire pressure and make sure that the license plate is attached and that all the lights work.
If you belong to a local cottage or lake association and are interested in having an officer come and speak to your group about water and boat safety you can contact the Lanark County O.P.P to schedule a talk. Be sure to call ahead as this is the busy season and opportunities book up quickly.