SMITHS FALLS – Spring is in the air and much of the ice on area lakes and rivers has melted away, tempting boaters to venture out. Warmer air temperatures, however, provide a false sense of security as the water is still extremely cold and even strong swimmers are unable to cope with the cold water shock and lose muscle control very quickly.
East Region OPP encourages the public to follow the Ontario Ministry of Health’s recommendations to stay home and avoid non-essential travel in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, but if you must be on the waterways, below are a few reminders and safety tips:
Always wear a life jacket, it will significantly increase your chance of surviving the cold water, should you be exposed;
- Share your plans and a timeline with someone you trust;
- Check the weather before you go out and check the water temperature;
- If it is very cold, consider staying off the water until warmer temperatures are achieved;
- Ensure that you have the necessary safety equipment on board.
Emergency situations that arise either on the water or at water-access only locations can be very stressful and dangerous for emergency responders. We appreciate the public’s ongoing support in ensuring everyone’s safety.