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OPP hope everyone stays safe on waterways this long weekend

17 marine fatalities have already been reported across Ontario
opp marine
OPP Marine Unit (via Opp.ca)

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) hoping for safe travels on Ontario waterways over the long weekend. 

So far, 2021 has seen 17 marine fatalities, "only one of them was wearing a life jacket, a few of them had died as a result of boats colliding with one another, you need to be aware of your surroundings," said OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt. 

In Ontario's West Region, there have been roughly 370 boat collisions so far this year, and several drownings -- "and that's causing us great concern because we know a number of these could have been prevented if people did something as simple as putting on a life jacket," said Regional OPP Media Relations Officer, Derek Rogers. 

Rogers said whether someone plans to boat over the long weekend (or anytime) they must be prepared. 

"We want people to be aware that they should do a once over: do you have enough fuel? Do you have all the things that you're required to have? Like flares and a bailing bucket for example; are you ready to go out on the waves before you go out on the waves?"

Rogers and Schmidt both added it is crucial boaters continue to check weather conditions because the forecast can change quickly on open water. 

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