Marine Officers Train on New Boats as OPP Commissioner Speaks to Boating Safety
ORILLIA, ON, April 30, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Chris Lewis addressed the media at Lake Couchiching waterfront today to talk about boating safety as OPP marine officers from across the province trained nearby on brand new vessels being added to the OPP's marine fleet this spring.
The OPP Fleet, Supply & Weapons Services Bureau (FSWSB) is replacing some of its older police vessels with 27 modern, new vessels that have been specially designed to carry out law enforcement duties.
The new "Justice" series vessels, manufactured by Brunswick Boat Group consist of 17 21-foot Boston Whalers with single 300 hp. 4-stroke engines and ten 24-foot Boston Whalers with dual 200 hp. 4-stroke engines. The boats are being distributed among the OPP's six regions and will be seen on Ontario lakes and rivers this coming season.
"The OPP has approximately 380 marine officers who police over 94,000 square kilometres of waterways in Ontario and these new police vessels will improve operational readiness for the difficult Search And Rescue (SAR) operations they carry out every year," said Lewis.
With the May Long Weekend and Safe Boating Week less than three weeks away, Lewis said the training event was an excellent opportunity to deliver important safety messages about wearing personal floatation devices (PFDs), not mixing boating with alcohol or drugs, ensuring that boats and equipment are in good working order and other safety measures he wants boaters to adhere to this coming boating season.
A total of 22 people lost their lives in 18 boating incidents in OPP jurisdiction last year (2011) and according to Lewis, most of the deaths could have been prevented had people respected Ontario's marine laws and exercised common sense on the water.
For further information:
Sgt. Karen Harrington, HSD Marine Programs Coordinator
Phone: (705) 329-6125