It’s a grim start to the summer, as Ontario Provincial Police have been called to fatal boating accidents on three separate lakes in April.
Earlier this month, three people were trying to retrieve a pedal boat by canoe when their boat capsized on Pigeon Lake, just north of Peterborough. One of the three successfully made it back to shore, but the other two weren’t so lucky. The body of a 23-year-old Scarborough man was recovered from the lake two days later, while the body of a 28-year-old Halton Hills woman wasn’t found for nearly two weeks following the incident, which turned out to be one of a few.
On Sunday, the body of a 22-year-old Richmond Hill man was found in Georgian Bay. He was one of three men from the GTA, who were boating near Hailstone Island early that morning when their boat capsized. Two of the men made it to shore and were taken to the hospital, but the third man’s body was later found by an underwater search and recovery unit.
Just days later, on Monday, April 25 at around 5 p.m., the Halliburton Highlands OPP, local fire department, and EMS were notified that two canoes had capsized on Eagle Lake, north of Haliburton. According to reports, four of the six boaters made it two shore, but two men did not. The underwater search and recovery unit located their bodies the next day.
In every one of these incidents, investigations reveal that none of the boaters were wearing lifejackets. Officials not only want to stress the importance of wearing a lifejacket, but they also want to remind people that despite the warmer weather, lake temperatures are still extremely cold.
“You go in this time of year without a life jacket…your chances of survival are minimal,” Gravenhurst OPP Constable Denis Hotte told CTV News.
For information on different types of lifejackets and PFDs, what’s approved for use, and how it should fit, visit Transport Canada’s website.