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Norfolk OPP Prepares for Pottahawk Sunday

Police have some tips to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time at Pottahawk Point on Sunday.

NORFOLK COUNTY - It's a tradition for boating enthusiasts in Norfolk and Oxford.

Pottahawk Sunday always takes place on the second Sunday in July and it sees hundreds of boats gather at Pottahawk Point on Lake Erie.

Thousands of people take part in the gathering each year. Andrew Gamble, the Media Relations and Community Safety Officer with the Norfolk OPP, says every one of them should have a life jacket or a personal floatation device this weekend.

"Historically we have seen that with fatal incidents on OPP patrolled waterways, more often than not, the deceased person was not wearing a life jacket. We're certainly trying to prevent any incidents like that, so if you're driving a boat or a vessel, ensure that you're wearing a life jacket or a personal floatation device and ensure that there are enough life jackets for every person aboard your vessel."

Gamble also advises against drinking or doing drugs, adding the penalties for impaired driving a boat are the same as a vehicle.

If you're planning on taking your boat out to Pottahawk Point this weekend, Gamble says you shouldn't be taking anyone with you that you're not planning on bringing back.

"People have tried to get a ride out to Pottahawk and a ride back and in the event that they're not able to get a ride back, they have actually tried to swim back to shore. That is something we strongly advise people not to do, you can imagine what could happen especially if someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs."

There will be an increased police presence on Norfolk County roads and waterways this weekend to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time.

Gamble says over 600 vessels and over 2,000 people attended Pottahawk Sunday last year, and it was an incident-free day for the most part. He adds it's hard to predict what the turnout will be like this weekend because it's weather-dependent. 

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