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OPP issue safety notice ahead of massive boat party at Pottahawk Point


Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are issuing a safety notice ahead of an annual boating party that’s set to take place on the second Sunday of July and expected to bring in thousands of people.

The event, often referred to as the “Pottahawk Pissup”, takes place at Pottahawk Point, a popular boating destination in Lake Erie, south-east of Turkey Point, Ont.

But ahead of the festivities, OPP are encouraging people to stay safe when out on the lake this upcoming weekend.

“Every year, the OPP responds to incidents at Pottahawk Point, Lake Erie, involving injuries and impaired boaters. Many of these incidents are alcohol-related, and some individuals are left stranded without a way back to shore,” police said in a media release.

OPP are advising boaters to avoid picking up unknown individuals seeking rides to the island.

Officers will be stationed at marinas, ensuring safety of community members both on and off the water, and enforcing necessary laws.

Police will conduct random vessel checks throughout the day to ensure proper safety equipment is on board.

“The OPP will also patrol Norfolk County highways and secondary roadways to promote motoring safety. They will target drivers who speed, drive under the influence of alcohol/drugs, drive distracted, or fail to wear seat belts,” police said.

Pottahawk incidents in 2023

According to Norfolk County OPP, around 600 boats and approximately 2,000 people attended the “Pottahawk Pissup” in 2023.

Norfolk County OPP said they “responded to very few incidents as a result of alcohol-related infractions.”

Between July 8 and July 9, OPP laid a total of three charges under the Liquor Licence and Control Act (LLCA) and six charges under the Canada Shipping Act.

Officers stationed on land arrested and charged one impaired driver. A total of 19 charges were laid under the Highway Traffic Act and one charge under the LLCA.

“Norfolk County OPP attributes the lack of any serious, possibly fatal incidents to the presence of Emergency Services who worked diligently to ensure public safety for the annual event.”

‘It’s an incredibly unique thing to do’

Warm and sunny weather during last year’s event brought people in from all over to take part in the festivities.

“If the weather is nice and everybody gets rocking and rolling pretty early, it turns into a monster party,” said three-time attendee Ian Little.

People also partied on land at nearby marinas.

“We’ve seen boats coming in from Toronto, we’ve seen a boat with North Carolina registration numbers on it so it’s very much a party atmosphere,” said attendee Trish Campbell. “It’s an incredibly unique thing to do, you can only go to Pottahawk Point if you have a boat so it’s very much a community thing.” Top Stories

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