A surfer who tackles the Ottawa River waves says well-meaning passersby are calling 911 for a water rescue, which could lead to a "public mischief" fine.
David Crichton frequently rides the river waves near the Remic Rapids, hoping for a "dessert wave" that provides an unexpected treat when water levels are high.
Crichton said that happened on Saturday when he was spotted crashing into the water. A passerby called 911 in fear he was in danger.
Water rescue crews from Ottawa Fire Services responded and brought the surfer back to shore, even though he didn't need assistance.
"No one wants to see emergency responses continue like this," Crichton said. "I want to see if we can find a solution to preventing the false alarms."
3 false alarms in 2 weeks
This was not the first false alarm for Crichton. It was the third total for him and his brother over the last two weeks.
Police told Crichton if bystanders continue to call 911, surfers believed to be in trouble could face a $4,000 fine for mischief.
Ottawa firefighter Bob Rainboth named one solution that could prevent these false alarms, suggesting paddlers and surfers should use a buddy system so bystanders don't mistake surfing for flailing.
Rainboth did say a 911 call is a judgment call for bystanders trying to help. There are many people who do need help in the water, so he wants people to remain alert along the shore.