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Six kayakers rescued on Georgian Bay after being stranded by high winds

OPP marine unit also checked 43 vessels and their operators for any signs of impairment and for having all of the required equipment
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 28 hours of marine patrol during some windy weather conditions over the weekend of Sept. 4-8, 2020 on the waters of Georgian Bay and Six Mile Lake.

The marine unit members checked 43 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 vessels and operators in 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:

  • Two kayakers were 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) or vessel registration
  • Three persons were charged with having or consuming liquor in other than a licenced place
  • One operator was charged for failing to display navigation lights
  • Four operators were charged with failing to have appropriate life saving equipment on board
  • While on the way to the marina - Three vehicle operators were issued offence notices for Highway Traffic Act offences
  • 24 warnings were conveyed to vessel operators by the officers for various marine equipment issues

Drinking and driving investigations on the water:

  • Four operators provided breath samples into the approved screening device (ASD) and all passed.

Marine Incidents of Interest

On Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 the OPP Marine Unit responded at 2:43 p.m. to a report of six kayakers who had become stranded from high winds forcing them into the tall reeds at the east end of Matchedash Bay, Severn Township.

With the assistance of Georgian Bay Fire Service and the loan of a vessel from a nearby Waubaushene Marina operator, the involved kayakers were safely located and transported back to their vehicles.

A number of equipment related offence notices were issued to some of the located persons and officers remind kayakers, Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP) and inflatable raft/.dingy operators to ensure they have all of the proper safety equipment with them at all times while on the water. See attached submitted photographs)

Educational Marine Safety

Marine officers continue to participate in the "I Got Caught Wearing My Life Jacket " educational T-shirt reward program for young boaters (see attached submitted photograph) and made themselves available for marine related media interviews.

The Marine Unit also visited five area marina's and made themselves available for marine educational questions from marina patrons during their patrol time along with responding to 10 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.