Rafters rescued offshore of Burlington and Oakville


Published June 24, 2024 at 7:13 pm

Halton Oakville Burlington Lake Ontario raft rescue
The Halton Police Marine Unit had to help these rafters get back to shore. (Halton Police photo).

The Halton Police Marine Unit was called out three times this past weekend to rescue rafters on Lake Ontario.

According to reports, rafters floated away and needed help to get back to shore.

In one case two people in a raft were 5 km. offshore when they realized they were in trouble.

Police said in this incident the rafters were too far away to get back on their own.

“They didn’t have cellphones, and couldn’t paddle to safety. Thankfully they were wearing life jackets,” police said adding that those who are out in the water on any craft should realize their capabilities before venturing too far from shore.

The Marine Unit is responsible for patrolling approximately 325 sq-km of water at the western end of Lake Ontario.

“Our priority is to ensure that all those who spend time on or near the water, do so safely,” a police message reads.

Here are some water safety tips as recommended by Halton police.


  • Review all postings in relation to beach swimming. These are posted as precautions.
  • None of the beachfronts in Halton are monitored by lifeguards; swimming is at your own risk.
  • There are no “swim-only” areas on the Lake Ontario shore. Please do your part to share the water.
  • Ensure you don’t “out swim” or “out float” your capabilities.
  • Keep an eye on the wind. It does not take much to push you offshore.


Before hitting the water, there are important safety items all vessels must have:

  • a personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket for each person onboard
  • a sound signalling device
  • a 15-metre buoyant heaving line
  • a watertight flashlight (at night or if reduced visibility)

Before operating a vessel, remember:

  • Do not operate a watercraft if you are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • When operating near the shore, you must :
    • yield the right of way to swimmers and sail-powered vessels,
    • use caution when entering any swimming areas, and
    • operate at a speed of 10 km/h or less within 30 metres of the shore.
  • Do not over-drive your vessel.


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