Toronto

Waterproof cellphone key to boater's quick rescue, police say

Police say an overnight rescue on Lake Ontario was made much easier because the boater in trouble was well-prepared with a survival suit, flashlight and a waterproof cellphone which he used to call police from the water.

Called police from the water after his boat capsized 2 km from shore

Members of the Toronto police unit say they were able to rescue the man easily because he was well equipped with a survival suit, cellphone and powerful flashlight. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Toronto police say an overnight rescue on Lake Ontario was made much easier because the boater in trouble was well-prepared with a survival suit, powerful flashlight and a waterproof cellphone that he used to call police from the water. 

Police Const. John Liggio of the city's Marine Unit says the man called them from the water after his boat capsized at about 1 a.m.

The man was towing another boat when both vessels flipped two kilometres from shore in the area of Bluffer's Park Marina. 

Using a waterproof cellphone, the man was able to call police for help and give them his exact co-ordinates. Before calling for help, the man — who declined to be interviewed by CBC News — had tried to swim ashore but realized he was drifting in the opposite direction due to the wind. At the time of his call for help, the man had been in the water for 90 minutes.

"Once we got close, he used a flashlight to signal us which was very bright and that's when we saw him," said Liggio. "We went right to him and got him on our boat."

Police say other boaters can learn from his actions and think about safety ahead of hitting the water.

"He had a survival suit and everything," said Liggio. "He was well prepared and that's why he's alive today."

Liggio also said boaters would do well to keep with them a waterproof cellphone, which can be a life-saver in similar circumstances.

Police say the man plans to return to the lake today to collect his capsized boat. 

With files from CBC's Tony Smyth

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