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OPP marine unit has busy weekend

The marine unit members checked 101 vessels and their operators for any signs of impairment and for having all of the required equipment during their patrol
Thomas P.Coffin
Photo supplied by Ontario Provincial Police

Members of the OPP Marine Unit attached to the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) conducted 60 hours of marine patrol on the waters of Georgian Bay, Six Mile Lake, Trent Severn System and Gloucester Pool during the Aug. 3-9, 2020 time period.

The marine unit members checked 101 vessels and their operators for any signs of impairment and for having all of the required equipment during their patrol time covering the waterways from Wasaga Beach to the Big Chute Railway on the Trent Severn system.

Patrol time was also focused on personal watercraft operation in the area of Jackson Beach Park and Balm Beach and also to the areas off of Giant's Tomb Island observing for liquor infractions and assisting with trespassing issues on Beckwith and Hope Islands.

Those vessel checks resulted in the following infractions being investigated:

  • One vessel operator was charged with failing to have sufficient life jackets for all persons aboard
  • One vessel operator was charged for not having a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC)
  • Four persons were charged with having or consuming liquor in other than a licenced place.
  • One operator was charged with failing to have navigation lights after dark.
  • 32 warnings were conveyed to vessel operators by the officers for various marine equipment issues.

Drinking and driving investigations on the water

  • Fifteen operators provided breath samples into the approved screening device (ASD)
  • One vessel operator received a three day suspension for registering a "warn" on the ASD.

At 9:40 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2020 OPP marine officers patrolling the Delawana Channel in Honey Harbour observed a capsized personal water craft (PWC) with two occupants trying to get back aboard in the dark. The officers assisted the occupants whom did not have life jackets and upon speaking with the operator the officers entered into a drinking and driving investigation.

The operator was arrested after registering a "Fail" on the approved Screening Device (ASD) and transported to Church Bay in Honey Harbour along with the PWC which was secured and the operator was further transported to detachment for further investigation.

As a result of this investigation Kajapragash Satkunarajah 28 years old of North York has been charged with - Operation while impaired - blood alcohol concentration (80 plus) contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.

The accused's Ontario drivers licence has been suspended for 90 days as per the rules set out in the Ministry of Transportation Administrative Drivers Licence Suspension program (ADLS) and was released from police custody on a recognizance to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Midland on Oct. 15, 2020.

Joint Enforcement Agency Patrols

OPP Marine officers were joined by a Canada Parks Warden over the weekend to assist in investigations on and around Beausoleil Island National Park.

The Marine Unit also visited ten area marina's and made themselves available for marine educational questions from marina patrons during their patrol time along with responding to 16 calls for service from the public. Vessel operators are encouraged to view the following educational videos on the effects of alcohol and cannabis

Boaters should also check the following websites and comply with any restrictions before planning to go ashore on your favourite island in Georgian Bay.

Beausoleil First Nations Lands
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
Georgian Bay Township

Officers crewing the OPP patrol vessel's remind all vessel operators that they are checking for vessel equipment and for liquor offences which they are vigorously enforcing in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities on our area waterways this summer. For more information on drinking and operating a vessel please view the following web video from our community partner Arrive Alive - en Francais

Police remind operators that an essential part of the enforcement job is to save lives and reduce injuries on our waterways. Educating the public about safe vessel operating practices is a priority.