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Boat operator fined in wake of drowning on Lake Simcoe

Transport Canada says group of friends had seen the boat tours advertised online and hired the individual for a private tour of the lake
2020-09-04 Lake Simcoe search 1
Local police marine units resume their search for a missing woman, Friday morning. Photo from South Simcoe police

Transport Canada has issued $6,500 in fines to an individual in the fatal boating incident that occurred last summer on Lake Simcoe in Innisfil. 

The individual had violated numerous provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, by illegally operating a privately owned pleasure craft as an uncertified commercial tour boat.

According to a press release from Transport Canada, on Sept. 3, 2020, the pleasure craft was carrying paying passengers for a tour without proper certification, licensing, or required safety measures.

A group of friends had seen the boat tours advertised online and hired the individual for a private tour of Lake Simcoe. 

While out on the boat, one of the passengers fell overboard and drowned. She was later found near Kempenfelt Bay and indentified as 21-year-old Kenean Teklemariam of Scarborough.

A search was launched immediately involving marine units from South Simcoe Police Service (SSPS), Barrie Police Service, York Regional Police and the Ontario Provincial Police Underwater Search and Recovery Unit.  Innisfil Fire and Rescue Service and County of Simcoe Paramedics also responded along with OPP air support.

Her body was recovered around 9:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept.  4, 2020, in the search area.  

Transport Canada investigated this incident and issued fines for the following violations of the Canada Shipping Act

  • operating a vessel without a certificate of registry or provisional certificate on board, in violation of ss.63(1);
  • operating a vessel without the proper certificate of competency, in violation of s.87;
  • failing to ensure that the vessel and its machinery and equipment complied with regulations, in violation of Para 106(1)(a);
  • failing to establish operational and emergency safety procedures, in violation of Para 106(1)(b);
  • failing to provide passengers with the necessary safety briefings and training, in violation of Para 106(1)(c); and
  • taking actions that could jeopardize the safety of the vessel or passengers, in violation of s.118.

Transport Canada appreciates the support from the South Simcoe Police Service in their response to the incident and noted their appreciates for their contribution to the investigation.

Transport Canada reminds that pleasure crafts are not designed or licenced to be operated as commercial vessels. In order to operate a commercial vessel, there are rigorous certification, licencing, and required safety measures that must be followed.

  • Transport Canada advises caution when deciding to hire and charter a vessel. To ensure a vessel is operating legally as a small commercial enterprise and has the appropriate safety measures in place, look for the following:

    • a Transport Canada Blue Decaldisplayed on the vessel that shows that the owner/operator has complied with safety and operating procedures set out by Transport Canada;
    • a Transport Canada certificate displayed on larger vessels that carry more than 12 passengers.
    • You can also contact your local Transport Canada Centre to inquire whether the vessel is certified.


Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is the Community Editor for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats.
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