Boater who struck and killed swimmer on Lake Rosseau in 2022 fined $10,000

Ontario Provincial Police marine unit boat out on the water Photo courtesy Ontario Provincial Police Central Region via Facebook

A boater who pleaded guilty to striking and killing a Lake Rosseau, Ont., swimmer in 2022 must now pay $10,000 in fines.

Zavier Foyston, a 26-year-old Bracebridge resident, was boating early in the morning on July 25, 2022 when he struck a swimmer wearing visibility markers. Several people called the OPP to report the unresponsive swimmer, who was floating in the water 20 metres from a dock near Shamrock Lodge Road in Port Carling, Ont.

The OPP, emergency services, and the fire department responded, and after failed attempts to resuscitate the 48-year-old, they brought him to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. 

Foyston remained on the scene to cooperate with the OPP. Const. Samantha Bigley says this is a common response during these types of incidents.

“Either people genuinely feel they’ve done something wrong, and they know that the right thing to do is wait for the investigators to arrive, or in some cases they don’t understand what happened in the first place,” Bigley says.

In January, Foyston was charged with operating a vessel in a careless manner, and he first appeared in court on February 7. He pleaded guilty to the offence under the Canada Shipping Act and must pay the maximum fine of $10,000 by August 9, 2024. He must also pay a $100 victim surcharge, which helps the government fund programs and services that support victims of crime.

Bigley recommends people exercise caution when out swimming on bigger lakes. This includes wearing visibility markers and becoming familiar with the lake in question.

“It’s probably not a coincidence that this swimmer was out early in the morning. That generally is a time when you would not expect a lot of vessel traffic,” she says. “To be visible, stay closer to shore and be aware of regular traffic.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Foyston needed to pay the fine by August 9, 2023.

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