July 29, 2014 2:26 pm

Alcohol a factor in almost half of all Ontario boating deaths: OPP

The majority of all boating deaths are preventable. That's the message the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is trying to hammer home ahead of the August long weekend.

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TORONTO – The majority of all boating deaths are preventable. That’s the message the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is trying to hammer home ahead of the August long weekend.

In a press release issued Tuesday, the OPP reported that in nearly half (42 per cent) of all boating deaths they’ve investigated this season, alcohol was a factor.

READ MORE: Lifesaving tips to prevent drowning deaths

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Over the Civic Day long weekend (the first weekend of August), the OPP will partner with the Canadian Safe Boating Council for “Operation Dry Water” – a national campaign that hopes to reduce boating deaths and injuries.

The OPP also noted that drinking alcohol on any type of boat is against the law. Only boats with permanent cooking, sleeping and washroom facilities can have open alcohol on board – and only when the boat is docked or anchored.

Earlier this month, the Lifesaving Society issued a warning to Canadians that 35 per cent of all drownings happen in July and August. In the majority of drowning deaths, the victims accidentally fell in the water.

The society said 2014 has seen a “staggering increase” in boating fatalities, with reports of drownings to the Lifesaving Society up 90 per cent.

The reminder came as rescue crews across the country scrambled to save multiple people in water-related incidents.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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