Thanks to a pair of boaters wearing life jackets and wet suits a disaster was averted in Lake Ontario neat Hamilton. On Sunday September 29 shortly after 1:00pm, members of the Hamilton Police Marine Unit responded to a mayday call in Lake Ontario approximately 4km south of the Burlington Ship Canal. A 29 year old female and 34 year old male were on a 16′ catamaran when the male fell overboard. As attempts were made of to recover the man overboard, the catamaran capsized and the female lost sight of her companion.
Search and rescue efforts were coordinated by Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, and involved Hamilton Police Marine Unit, Halton Regional Police Marine Unit, and several Auxiliary Units of the Canadian Coast Guard. As a result of this search the male party was finally located 1.5 miles off shore by members of the Hamilton Police Marine Unit. The male had some signs of mild hypothermia but was not injured, after spending 1 hour in the 18°C water. Both the male and female were brought to shore and assessed by paramedics.
Both persons were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) as well as wet suits, and the female was able to call for help using a marine VHF radio she had attached to her PFD. The wearing of PFDs and the effective use of a VHF radio were instrumental in preventing this incident from turning tragic.