Boating Safety TIPS from Hamilton Police Marine Unit

There has been a significant increase in marine search and rescue incidents so far this year. The Hamilton Police Marine Unit is reminding the boating community to be prepared this season.

In 2020, the Hamilton Police Marine Unit has conducted 12 marine rescues. This represents an increase of over 70% from the same period last year. This increase is concerning and after reviewing the incidents; police have not been able to establish any common factors.

Most recently, the Marine Unit responded to two separate vessel fires within days of each other, one of which saw three people successfully rescued from the frigid waters of Lake Ontario.

Hamilton Police continue to work towards educating the public in an effort to see these incidents decrease.

Police believe that wearing a PFD/lifejacket is the most important factor in preventing deaths while boating.

Preparedness is the key to boating safety and in case of an emergency use VHF channel 16, dial *16 on your cell phone, or 911.

At this time the Marine Unit would like to remind boaters about the following laws:

  • Every person on board must have a properly fitted Canadian approved personal flotation device (PFD) of lifejacket
  • Boat operators are responsible for having the appropriate safety equipment on board according to their vessel size/type, as described by law
  • The rules of boating under the influence of alcohol and or drugs are the same as they are on the roadways. The legal limit is under 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • With inboard engines, run your blowers for four minutes before starting the engine, after fueling, and during periods of long idling.

The following tips can help you stay safe on the water this summer:

  • Check the weather before leaving and monitor changing conditions
  • Make sure you and your guests know what to do in case of emergency
  • Ensure your boat is well maintained and routinely serviced by a qualified marine technician.
  • Be aware of cold water shock and hypothermia, and how to mitigate those risks
  • Inspect your safety equipment regularly
  • Never boat under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs

If you have any questions about boating safety and or the laws, please contact our Marine Unit at 905-546-4941 or [email protected]