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Don't let fun on the water turn deadly, Orillia OPP warn (VIDEO)

'Oftentimes, we find people without any safety equipment whatsoever. Nothing,' said OPP official, who pleas with people to be safe on local waters
martin hill water safety video screenshot
Orillia OPP Const. Martin Hill has some safety tips to help people avoid tragedy on the waters this weekend. OPP Photo

The weekend forecast calls for sunshine and hot weather. And that means many people will head out on local waters for some fun in the sun.

To ensure that fun doesn't turn to tragedy, the Orillia OPP is warning people to be safe.

Orillia OPP Const. Martin Hill says too often the marine unit encounters people who simply aren't being safe. And, sadly, that often leads to tragedy.

"Oftentimes, we find people without any safety equipment whatsoever. Nothing," said Hill. "And they say, 'I didn't know.' But you need to know. The basic requirement is, at least, a life jacket."

Hill said even for the best swimmers, a nasty turn in the weather or a fall into the water "can be deadly."

OPP warn boaters that having life jackets on board is only half of the battle.

"Often they have lifejackets tucked away in a cabinet," said Hill, noting if they aren't accesssible, they are "not doing you any good." He implores everyone on the water to wear a life jacket as a minimum safety standard.

He also advises people to carry a whistle as part of their essential safety gear. 

"A whistle is like a baby's cry - everybody knows what a whistle on the water means," said Hill. "Having it on board and knowing what to do in case of emergency" is vital.

He said everyone on board - including both kids and adults - need to know what to do in "case the unthinkable happens."

And pay attention to forecasts, he warned, noting this summer has already seen many sudden storms.

"Weather can turn in an instant," said HIll. "Check the forecast before you go out."

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt also had an important reminder about the perils of drinking and boating.

He stressed you're not allowed to have alcohol on your boat unless you have a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom on board. He said piloting a boat while under the influence is a "recipe for disaster." 

Hill added that it is illegal to drive a canoe or a kayak while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"We're not trying to kill your fun," said Schmidt, but he stressed being responsible can be a matter of life and death.