OPP Watching for Bad Boaters in Simcoe County


The 2023 Canada Safe Boating Week runs May 19-26. This initiative is designed to increase public compliance with safe boating measures and ultimately, to save lives. The OPP will be looking for impaired driving, carriage requirements for lifejackets and Personal Floatation Devices (PFD's), Liquor Licence Act offences and Canada Shipping Act 2001 offences.

With Safe Boating Awareness Week kicking off this weekend, the OPP and its Marine Program members will be promoting safety on the water in partnership with the Canadian Safe Boating Council and other marine safety partners. 

Please remember that a properly fitted lifejacket, is not only designed to keep boaters and paddlers afloat, but also helps turn them onto their backs, enabling them to breathe if they are rendered unconscious. The 29 people who lost their lives in OPP-investigated marine incidents in 2022 were made up of 18 boat operators, seven passengers and four people in the water. Only two of the deceased were wearing a lifejacket.

"The OPP want to ensure everyone has an enjoyable and safe boating season.  There look to be more people on the waterways, so all the more reason to wear your lifejacket or PFD and no drinking and boating. Impaired operation on the water carries the same fines and penalties as on the highway. Help keep our waterways safe for everyone."  - Inspector Tyler Sturgeon, Detachment Commander - East Algoma OPP.     

On those beautiful sunny days, most of us want to get out on the water to use our boats. Just remember that any vessel being underway that has any type of motor, requires the operator to possess a valid Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) or proof of competency equivalence.

And, any vessel on the water (even paddleboats and canoes) require all the necessary safety equipment on board.

The standard equipment includes:

15m floating heaving line
watertight flashlight
whistle - *must be Pealess* (or some type of sound signaling device, i.e. horn, or portable air horn, etc.)
bailing bucket
a paddle or an oar
lifejackets or Personal Floatation Devices (PFD's) for every person on board (*self-inflating PFD's must be worn*)
and depending on the size of the vessel and motor being used, it may require proper flares and a fire extinguisher
Horsepower and age restrictions:

under 12yrs. may operate a boat with up to 10hp
12yrs. - 16yrs. may operate a boat with up to 40hp
16yrs. and older, there are no horsepower restrictions
under 16 yrs. regardless of supervision shall NOT operate a Personal Water Craft (PWC):Sea-doo, Jet-Ski, Waverunner
The OPP remains committed to saving lives on Ontario roads, waterways and trails. The OPP Marine Program has a fleet of 134 vessels and approximately 400 highly trained marine officers committed to enforcing boating laws and the safety of Ontario boaters on more than 110,000 square kilometres (95 per cent) of Ontario's lakes and rivers.        

Should you observe a suspected impaired driver, please dial 911 or contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.