“I Got Caught Wearing My Life Jacket” program launched by Southern Georgian Bay OPP

The kids want to be stopped by police.

Children spotted wearing life jackets while out on the water will be rewarded by Southern Georgian Bay OPP with a “I Got Caught Wearing My Life Jacket” t-shirt. The program started in 2005.

“The program reminds young folks to wear their life jacket when they are out on the water,” said OPP Constable David Hobson. “It helps remind their moms and dads to put them on as well because as we all know life jackets don’t work unless you wear them.”

Wearing life jackets is not mandatory. Hobson said they keep finding time and time again people who drown don’t have their life jackets on when they enter the water. Trying to put a life jacket on while struggling in the water can be next to impossible.

“It’s a real challenge. I have seen it first-hand. People who are out on the water and defiantly say they have life jackets with them and that they can jump in the water and get their life jacket on. One man did that and he failed miserably, getting his life jacket out of the boat and getting it on.”

Hobson said life jackets are an essential piece of safety equipment for everyone on the water and members of the Southern Georgian Bay Marine Unit always look for a suitably sized and functional life jacket for every occupant on board a vessel during every vessel check.

With COVID-19, Hobson said more people are spending recreational time in the area and there is a tremendous number of new boaters this year. He said many are not used to the water and used to the facts about being on the water. Hobson said the marine unit finds people who don’t have life jackets in the boat, period. He said police keep writing tickets. The fine is in the $300 neighbourhood.

The local program is supported by the Midland office of Broker Link Insurance.