Paddleboarder receives ticket for $240

July 1, 2016

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As we enter the busy summer boating season the Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Marine Unit would like to provide residents and visitors to our area with two vital safety tips to follow while out enjoying on our local waterways. 

The goal this year and every year for the Huron OPP Marine Unit is a safe boating season free from fatalities.  Unfortunately, every year throughout our Province too many individuals die on the water from not following two basic safety tenets. 

  • Always wear a lifejacket / PFD and

  • Donít cruise with booze.

The statistics show the majority of victims who die in fatal boating incidents are not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) or a lifejacket. 

 In 2015, the OPP investigated 16 fatal boating incidents in which 18 people died. Falling overboard, capsized or swamped vessels, speed and alcohol and failure to wear a lifejacket or PFD were all contributing factors in the fatalities.  Sadly, the trend continues in 2016. 

Under the Small Vessel Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act boaters are required to carry a minimum of one lifejacket or PFD for each person on board.  Huron OPP would like to point out that this law applies to operators of pleasure craft that is owned, rented or borrowed. 

This law applies to conventional vessels such as power boats, sail boats and personal watercraft (PWC) and to other vessels such as stand up paddleboards (SUP), water cycles, kayaks, canoes, sailboards and kiteboards.

Last weekend, a paddle boarder was stopped on Lake Huron near Bayfield and the paddle boarder received a $240 ticket for failing to wear a lifejacket / PFD on his paddleboard.  The paddle boarder was surprised to learn that he needed to wear a life jacket / PFD and was even more surprised about the cost of the ticket.

 Transport Canada, classifies Stand Up Paddleboards as human powered vessels when they are being used for navigation.  When undertaking a trip or circuit such as a group crossing or solo outing, this is considered navigation.  As human powered vessels, Stand Up Paddleboards are subject to all carriage requirements, including lifejackets. There must be one Canadian approved lifejacket or personal floatation device available on board and available for immediate use. 

 Huron OPP would also like to dispel any notion that fatal boating incidents on OPP-patrolled waterways usually involve motorized vessels.    

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Unfortunately some people feel safe just having lifejackets and PFDs on board.  What they fail to recognize is that many dangerous boating incidents happen very quickly and thereís no time to grab your PFD.  By the time you realize you need it, more often than not, itís too late. 

Other people donít wear them because they think PFDs and lifejackets are uncomfortable and will take away from their boating enjoyment.  The reality is that PFDs and lifejackets have come a long way and are designed with comfort in mind.  Always wear your lifejacket!  

Staying safe on the water also means never mixing alcohol and boating.  Mixing alcohol and boating is far more dangerous than you may think.  Under normal conditions sun, wind, and the motion of the boat can dull your senses.  Adding alcohol to this mix makes things worse, slowing your hand-eye coordination and clouding your judgement. 

Always remember, ďDonít Cruise with booze!Ē  Drinking and driving, whether on land or on the water is against the law and the consequences can last a lifetime.  Keep in mind these laws apply to anyone who is caught drinking and operating motorized and non-motorized vessels, including power boats, canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, paddleboards, sailboats, dinghies and other inflatable boats and rafts.

 If you suspect that a person is operating any type of boat while impaired, please call 9-1-1 and report them, in doing so, you could be saving lives.

Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or send a web-tip to crimestop-gb.org, where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Charges have yet to be proven in Court

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Friday, July 01, 2016