The OPP is urging boaters to ensure Safety is their number one priority when out on the lake this boating season.
This warning comes following a successful rescue mission this past weekend by the Huron OPP Marine Unit & the Canadian Coast Guard.
Police say shortly after 11 a.m. on Sunday, (June 10) Huron OPP received a 9-1-1 call about a small sailboat that had capsized in Lake Huron north of Bayfield roughly 2 kilometres from shore.
Three London residents, all between the ages of 19 to 24 plunged into the frigid water when their sailboat capsized.
Police say the strong winds and heavy wave activity on Lake Huron simply overpowered the inexperienced and ill-prepared sail-boaters.
According to the OPP, there was no safety equipment on board the vessel nor were any of them wearing life jackets or personal floatation devices.
Fortunately, the OPP Marine Unit was in the area and was able to locate the small boat within 10 minutes.
Upon arriving, officers located the three men all submerged in the water attempting to hold onto the overturned hull of the sailboat.
Police were able to pull out the panicked and exhausted men from the water to safety.
The Canadian Coast Guard arrived on scene a few minutes later and were able to transport the men safely to shore where they were treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.
Huron County OPP Sergeant Andrew MacIsaac says "We are very fortunate these young males survived this life and death situation. It very easily could have been a tragedy. I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared before you set sail. The best protection you can give yourself on the water is to wear your life jacket."
Huron OPP offers the following additional marine safety tips:
Life Jackets/PFD - A proper sized life jacket or PFD is required for each person on board.
Competent Operator - Take a boating safety course and always carry your operator card with you.
Check and monitor the Marine Weather Forecast. Conditions can change quickly, particularly on larger bodies of water.
Sail Plan - Let someone know your planned route and estimated time of return. Time is of the essence in an emergency, it can make the difference between a rescue and a recovery.
Safety Equipment - Required by law, requirements vary by type of vessel and size. Ensure you have the proper equipment on board each time you sail; it won't help you if it's left on the dock.
Charts and Compass - Be aware of local hazards, water levels, tides and know where you are at all times.
Fuel - 1/3 to go, 1/3 to return, 1/3 in reserve.
Boat Condition - Check the hull, hoses, lines, clamps and the battery. Regular maintenance reduces the risk of a break down on the water.
Leave the Beer on the Pier - Boaters caught drinking and boating in Ontario face the same consequences as drinking & driving on land. This includes power boats, canoes, kayaks, sail boats and personal watercraft.