ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
Members of the Collingwood and Huronia West Detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have been busy with their joint maritime patrol in the waters of Georgian Bay. They have rescued nine people in four separate incidents over the past two days.
On Thursday June 30, seven of those people were rescued from the waters within a two-hour window.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., while conducting a general patrol, officers observed three adult female paddleboarders calling for assistance approximately 2 km from the shores of Wasaga Beach. Only one of them had a life jacket, and the three of them had two paddle boards. They were quickly thrown off shore and found themselves in distress and unable to return.
At 2:15 p.m., officers received a call for service in waters in the Beachwood Road area. Two children, aged 12 and 13, were blown into the bay on a foam toy. Neither child was wearing a life jacket. While on their way to help, police spotted a child in the water in distress trying to swim to shore. The other child was on the play mat. Both children were extremely cold and scared.
At 3.30pm, two adult men were said to be in distress after the inflatable toy they were on was blown into the bay from Northwinds Beach in the town of Blue Mountains. The OPP Marine Unit and the Canadian Coast Guard coordinated their efforts and were able to rescue the two men, who were also not wearing life jackets.
On Friday, July 1 at 12:19 p.m., police received a call about two adult females who had been blown into the bay from Wasaga Beach on a large flamingo toy. Neither woman was wearing a life jacket and both were not swimming.
The police would like to remind the public of the dangers of using inflatable toys, paddle boards and other water-based equipment. Here are some important tips:
- Always wear a life jacket. Know your limits. Set a good example for your children. Life jackets can be borrowed free of charge at any Ontario Parks station or office in Wasaga Beach.
- Check the weather and wind conditions. Offshore winds blow from land to water. Conditions may seem mild near the shore, but deteriorate as you move further away.
- Do not mix alcohol or drugs with water activities.
- Avoid distractions. Stay away from your cell phone.
Inflatable toys are not a lifesaving device and provide a false sense of security. They should never replace a life jacket or adult supervision.
The OPP would also like to remind beachgoers to secure their inflatable toys when not in use. If thrown into water or abandoned, others may think someone is stranded or missing. This causes unnecessary research efforts.
The OPP plays a role in drowning prevention through proactive patrols of 110,398 square kilometers of waterways. The OPP combines law enforcement efforts with public education to improve marine and water safety. A critical part of law enforcement work is saving lives and reducing injuries on our waterways.