he Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Norfolk County Detachment is urging everyone that will be attending Pottahawk this Sunday on Lake Erie to put their safety as a priority.


Every year Emergency Services respond to numerous injuries, and impaired boaters while at Pottahawk Point, Lake Erie.  The majority of the incidents investigated involved alcohol and in some instances, people left stranded without a ride back to shore.


The Norfolk County OPP is urging all boating enthusiasts attending Pottahawk to anchor their boats 2 meters apart so that everyone can properly distance themselves and to adhere to your social circle of not more than 10 people for everyone’s safety. All vessel operators are being asked to refrain from picking up strangers looking for a ride to Pottahawk. Officers in uniform and plain clothes will be at marinas working with marina owners to ensure public safety both on and off the water and enforcing necessary laws.


Police will also be conducting random vessels checks throughout the day checking for sobriety and to ensure that all safety equipment is onboard. Police do have dedicated safety lanes that will allow officers to respond to incidents as they occur. These lanes are only used by police and should not be blocked by any vessel.


OPP will also be vigilantly patrolling Norfolk County highways and secondary roadways in the hopes of promoting motoring safety. Police will continue to target aggressive drivers who speed, drive under the influence of drugs/alcohol, drive distracted or fail to wear seat belts.


If you plan on attending Pottahawk, be prepared.


  • Wear a life jacket or PFD at all times while boating. It’s too late to put on a lifejacket after you have fallen in.
  • Make sure you leave a minimum 2 meters between vessels in order to properly distance yourself for everyone’s safety.
  • Do not operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s against the law, and carries the same penalties as if you were driving your vehicle.
  • Conduct a pre-departure check list for all required safety equipment. Safety equipment is required by law and may save your life.
  • Check the weather forecast before leaving the dock. Weather can turn enjoyment into tragedy.
  • Let someone know your destination and when you plan on returning.  Avoid picking up hitch-hikers wanting to attend.  A ride there does not guarantee a ride home. Let’s make sure everyone returns home safely.
  • Have some type of Communications (VHF radio, Cell phone with charger). You may need to call for help.
  • Carry you’re Pleasure Craft Operators Card, a license that allows someone to operate a boat, with them at all times.
  • To plan ahead. Make sure someone on board will be sober and that person has an operator’s card with them.


“We want everyone that will be attending Pottahawk to behave in a safe and responsible manner and to remember to put their safety as a priority.” – Inspector Joseph Varga, Norfolk County OPP Detachment Commander.


Report an Impaired boater. Dial 911 on your Cell or Channel 16 on your VHF.

Filed under: covid 19, opp, pottahawk