OPP wants Pottahawk Sunday to be fun and incident-free

The annual boat gathering – known as Pottahawk Sunday – takes place this weekend on Lake Erie, and the Ontario Provincial Police want participants to have a safe and enjoyable time.

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“Every year, the OPP responds to incidents at Pottahawk Point, Lake Erie, involving injuries and impaired boaters,” said Const. Andrew Gamble of Norfolk OPP. “Many of these incidents are alcohol-related, and some individuals are left stranded without a way back to shore.”

Police say officers will be present at marinas to ensure public safety both on and off the water, enforcing necessary laws, and advising boaters not to pick up hitchhikers.

“Police will conduct random vessel checks throughout the day to ensure required safety equipment is on board,” Gamble noted. “They have dedicated safety lanes for responding to incidents, which should not be blocked by any vessel.”

Pottahawk participants should always wear a personal flotation device or life jacket while boating.

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Boaters should check the weather forecast before leaving the dock and conduct a pre-departure checklist for all safety equipment required by law, which can save your life.

Boating enthusiasts should not operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as it carries the same penalties as operating a vehicle while impaired.

Let someone know your destination and anticipated return time.

Operators should always carry their Pleasure Craft Operator Card and ensure that a designated driver is also in possession of such card for the return trip to shore.

Have access at all times to communications devices such as a cellphone with charger or a VHF radio.

“We urge everyone attending Pottahawk to act responsibly and make safety their top priority, ensuring a fun and incident-free event for all,” said Norfolk OPP detachment commander Insp. Andy Tait.

To report an impaired boater or an emergency, dial 9-1-1 on your cell phone or use channel 16 on a VHF radio.

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