Police rescue 10 people from Georgian Bay 0
GEORGIAN BAY - The local OPP detachment's marine unit plucked 10 people from the waters of Georgian Bay over a three-hour timespan, yesterday.
The first call came in at 2 p.m., after a resident at Blue Shores spotted people in a blue paddle boat drifting into Georgian Bay. The marine unit quickly caught up to the boat, though the strong offshore wind blowing out of the west, combined with waves of three-to-five feet, made the rescue effort tough.
Police say the paddle boat had five people on board - plus one in the water - and not all were wearing personal flotation devices. Officers pulled the people on board the detachment's boat, but the paddle boat had to be abandoned as waves made it difficult to tow back to shore.
One of the people was charged under small vessel regulations; if anyone finds the boat on shore, call the Collingwood OPP detachment at 445-4321.
The OPP and Coast Guard were also called out to Wasaga Beach later in the afternoon, after an eight-year-old boy on an inflatable pool toy drifted into Georgian Bay. In an attempt to rescue the child, the parents had set off in a canoe; they caught up to the child, but the conditions made it tough to get back to shore.
Police say an elderly gentleman in a rowboat also attempted to affect a rescue, and he, too, was unable to get back.
The OPP rescued all four; the child and the parents were not wearing PFDs.
Police say in all cases, the boats had drifted more than a kilometre from shore, and would otherwise not have been able to make it back safely.
"If not for the rapid deployment of the police and coast guard yesterday, there would have surely been a fatality," noted Const. Trevor McKean, who's in charge of the Collingwood OPP detachment's marine unit.
Police say people should be mindful of their surroundings when out on the water; Georgian Bay is known for quickly changing conditions and wind direction, and boaters may be unaware they are drifting away from shore - and by the time they do, it may be too late to get back safely.
"It may be calm waters when you set off, but this can change in a heartbeat," said McKean, who also noted people should always remember to wear a PDF.
Police also remind people that pool toys are made for pools - not a large body of water such as Georgian Bay.