Residents and out-of-towners are looking forward to the August long weekend and should remember to practice safe boating. 

"With regards to marine safety, no drinking and boating and 'think before you sink' - put your lifejackets on. They're really of no use if they're under the seat. We're really encouraging people to wear their PFDs," says OPP Detachment Commander, Inspector Jeff Duggan. 

Boaters are especially reminded to be cautious as water levels in the region are at a near-record low. Since July 16, the water level has fallen from 322.66 m (1058.6 ft) to 322.63 m (1058.5 ft), keeping the lake in the 10th percentile for this time of year. According to the Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB), the average level of the lake is expected to decline by 1 to 2 cm (1 in) over the next week.  

"We've had a lot of calls about collisions and boats hitting rocks, so be sure you know where you're going and let someone know where you're going," Duggan adds. 

2020 was a particularly tragic year, with 32 people losing their lives in OPP-investigated marine incidents. Falling overboard and capsized vessels were reported as the primary causes in 29 of the fatalities. Among those who died, 29 of them were not wearing a lifejacket or PFD. Alcohol was a factor in eight of the fatalities.