Sunday 14 August 2011

Near misses on Ontario waters- 2011

I've noticed more reports of near misses on our waters. They, as much as drownings statistics, require reporting. These are lessons that must be learned if we want to travel safely on Ontario and Canadian waters.

I've seen my share of near misses: young kids driving powerful jetskis, people following closely BESIDE boats and waterskiers on jetskis, as well as unnecessary speed on Ontario lakes. People treat lakes and the roads as their own personal Nascar track, ignoring their fellow citizens who similarly travel.

Our safety laws are totally inadequate, not so much ignorance but willfull speed on open waters, as well as on frozen lakes in winter. With the thousands of lakes in Ontario's cottage country*, our OPP Marine Patrols cannot enforce laws. When a patrol boat approaches, negligent boaters scatter.

Former neighbours, on 2km-long Long Lake, would allow what looked to be a 12-year-old to use the jetski all alone. I have asked the Marine Patrol to speak to this family. They had a couple of violations when the OPP visited the lakefront. I had to. I feared for myself as much as others.

 The family, new to cottaging, disrespect the Muskoka and cottaging etiquette of days gone by. With the powerful jetskis, the danger is much worse than it used to be. For, in the old days you knew cottaging neighbours and were aware of who was swimming, in fact would take your neighbour's kids waterskiing, too.

Now with the number of families renting out cottages to pay taxes, or having up friends who can now travel the highway quickly and be visiting with friends in a short drive, the lakes are crowded with citiots. (Imagine urinating off the side of a boat near cottages on the lake! I happened to have camera in hand, so-to-speak.)

Some call for mandatory lifejacket use, but this isn't the answer.
Many drownings related to alcohol, study says

July 8, 2009 - by Evan French
"A pair of newly released drowning trend reports, compiling 10 years of research by the Canadian Red Cross, show that boating fatalities make up 39 per cent of drowning victims, and alcohol is a factor in about half of the cases."
It is up to family members and/or neighbours to give some free advice. If necessary, call the OPP.

The message in the bottle

Awhile back I wrote about all the drownings and incidents and the lack of safe drinking, boating and driving habits in Muskoka and Cottage Country. We are all responsible. We have to convince young and old to respect marine, snowmobile and traffic laws regarding speed on water and highways.

For more info: click here=> Canadian Marine Laws. Most people around wear them in canoes. Many fishermen do not.

Charges against Rideau boaters on rise: Great Lakes Boating

 – An increased police presence on the Rideau Canal has led to more than 30 charges against boaters this summer, Parks Canada said Thursday, August 11th, 2011. 

Family still reeling from boating collision

Charges pending in crash, OPP reports

Gravenhurst Bay, July 3, 2011
He said another vessel collided with a stationary vessel, operated by Jason Sutcliffe, T-boning it and running up over top of it. Police said alcohol was reported as a factor in the incident.

Sunday evening, a young 8-year-old girl, Emma Sutcliffe, of Gravenhurst, was airlifted to Sick Kids hospital after her dad's ski boat was “T-boned”.
In the boat, glass and debris were everywhere. There were cracks in its sides from the first impact of the collision. The prop of the other boat was sitting in Jason’s passenger seat. The water-ski tower had shot several feet into the lake, he said.
Emma’s wounds: only recently did doctors take out the 45 stitches in her face from pan-facial fractures.
With her grandpa at her side, she was airlifted from South Muskoka Memorial Hospital to Sick Kids Hospital where a team was waiting with three plastic surgeons.
She had suffered a broken collarbone, orbital bone and right clavicle, and both hinges of her jaw were broken, as well as her chin. Her palate had been broken in half and her six front teeth knocked out. She had multiple lacerations on her face and soft tissue damage on one side of her neck.
Emma underwent an operation for her injuries and spent five days at Sick Kids. She has been back for re-examinations twice.
The family is hoping she will no longer have to wear a neck brace after her next appointment Aug. 18.
Emma is slowly able to chew again after following a no-chew diet, but shards of glass are still coming out of her head, her family said.

A Near Drowning incident: Inside Halton Article: Staying afloat

Oakville Beaver Editorial: Not wearing your lifejacket could cost you your life. His kids saved him.

*The number of lakes larger than three square kilometres is estimated at close to 31,752 by the Atlas of Canada, with 561 lakes with a surface area larger than 100 km2. There are 3,899 lakes in Ontario greater than 3 square KM (32,000 in Canada). There are over 3 million lakes in Canada of any size.
Ontario boats more than 400,000 lakes, rivers and streams. (

1 comment:

Netty said...

I see it here on Lake Simcoe as well.
While I think that Pleasure Craft Operator Licensing has helped, there are still a lot of 'citiots' who pay no attention to the laws and have no regards to common sense. And I agree with your comment of "cottaging etiquette of days gone by". It seems that everyone these days has that its-all-about-me attitude with little thought to others.