Stay Safe on the Water This Summer

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair




With the Victoria Day weekend being considered the unofficial start of summer, Toronto Police Service’s Marine Unit are reminding people to take safety precautions on Lake Ontario.

“This is not a cottage-type lake,” said Constable Stacy Kellough who is the Marine Unit Community Service officer. “It is more of an inland ocean and we want people to remember that. We have many visitors that come down here and they assume it is not that big. It is a Great Lake and it should not be underestimated. That means you might want more survival equipment on your boats.”

She offered several tips to be safe:

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Be wary of cold water
  • Prepare your boat and check safety equipment
  • Stay sober

Check out the Toronto Police Water Safety webpage.

Failing to wear a life jacket resulted in 90 per cent of water fatalities last season.

“Wearing lifejackets, while on a boat or watercraft like a paddleboard, makes a huge difference to safety,” said Kellough, who has been with the Marine Unit for 14 years.

She also reminded people that the water is always cold in Lake Ontario.

“You will get cold water shock if you fall in so we want people to respect the lake and know the water they are going to be in,” Kellough said.

To operate a marine vessel in the Port of Toronto, boaters are required to have a harbour permit and obey speed limits.

“We have enforcement officers out this weekend using laser technology to ensure boaters comply with those limits when operating in certain zones,” said Kellough. “In the Port of Toronto, it’s five knots 150 metres from the shoreline, which is about 10 kilometres. Beyond that, the maximum speed is 10 knots, which is 19 kilometres.”

North American Safe Boating Awareness Week, which runs from May 20 to 26, is aimed at promoting safe and responsible boating practices to the 14 million Canadians who take part in recreational boating in the summer.

Visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council at for more safety information.


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