Ontario Provincial Police were kept busy on Lake Erie Sunday as thousands of boating enthusiasts and partygoers hit the water for the annual Pottahawk Pissup.
Norfolk County OPP say numbers were down compared to previous years for the annual party off Long Point, but there were no serious incidents reported.
“Mother Nature was co-operating, Pottahawk was an exceptional day,” said Const. Ed Sanchuk.
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“This year, the boats were down in extreme numbers. We had approximately 1,200 boaters and about 4,000 people.”
Sanchuk says officers responded to various incidents on the water.
Police laid a charge of careless operation of a vessel to the driver of a rented Sea-Doo who struck a police boat. The operator was not under the influence of alcohol, but police say he was inexperienced and did not receive any instruction from the rental shop. There was no damage or injuries reported due to the crash.
Another boat operator is facing fines up to $2,500 after police stopped the vessel with 14 people aboard, but no life-saving devices available.
Police were also on the lookout for alcohol-related incidents. While the total stats for the day have yet to be released, Sanchuk said there were about seven people who were arrested for being intoxicated in a public place.
“It’s one of those things where people need to put their safety as a priority. We still had people who were operating their vessels who were under the influence of alcohol,” said Sanchuk.
“We did have a few three-day suspensions, however, with that being said though, the education piece that we put out there to make sure that people understand that impaired boating will not be tolerated and putting other people’s lives at risk will not be tolerated.”
Sanshuk said officers are looking forward to the next edition of Pottahawk and are encouraging everyone who will be attending to bring their common sense and keep safety top of mind.