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Emergency Response

911 should be dialed to save a life, report a fire or report a crime in progress

All Other Issues – Call 1 888-310-1122 to speak to a dispatcher 24/7


The OPP have two 911 communication centres serving the Georgian Bay Area: North Bay and Orillia. When the communications centre receives a call they will coordinate the best response to the emergency. It it is critical to provide as much detail to the 911 operator as possible, especially for water access properties. GPS coordinates are “good” but extra information including the name of the nearest marina, named channels and landmarks and a municipal address (if available) are all helpful. Follow the instructions from the operator. Response time is slower in cottage country and we should be prepared for this. Cottagers should be their own first responders and equipped with first aid supplies and CPR and first aid training. Associations should consider having community AED defibrillators and spinal boards. Cottagers should also develop and practice an evacuation plan in case of a fire or emergency.

In 2020 the OPP announced that they would be utilizing the app what3words in their call centres to facilitate emergency response. The app has divided the planet into 3×3 metre squares and assigned a unique three word combination to each square. Once you have downloaded the app, your phone will tell you what 3 words apply to your exact location. When you call 911 in an emergency you can give the 3 words and the emergency responders know exactly where to find you. It should speed up emergency response. Find more information on the app and how it works here.


Ontario Provincial Police

The OPP has confirmed to GBA that either GPS protocol (degrees or decimals) is fine to use. They suggest that cottagers have the coordinates and other location information written down and posted in a highly visible location. When talking to the 911 operator include what format (degrees or decimals) it is using to get the coordinates. But the bottom line from the OPP is that any GPS protocol is fine to use.


Reporting Boater Behaviour

Reports should be made to the OPP at 1 888-310-1122, NOT 911. This line is available 24/7.

The OPP are prepared to follow up on reports of poor boater behaviour, including dangerous driving (speeding thorough slow zones, slaloming PWCs through inner channels, etc.), drinking while driving and even environmental or pollution offences. The OPP has zero tolerance for alcohol consumption while driving, speeding and lack of life jackets. Excessive engine noise is not a complaint that is easy for the OPP to deal with.

The more information a caller can provide to the OPP the better, such as exact location, time, colour/style/name/license number of boat(s) involved. Pictures are even better.

Police prefer complainants to go on the record when making a complaint but understand that circumstances arise where people prefer to remain anonymous. The OPP will honour such requests. If the complaint involves a criminal offence and you wish to remain anonymous, you can also call Crime Stoppers.

The OPP appreciates any help in communicating the above to cottagers, including through local cottager associations. It was suggested that GBA Member Associations provide the OPP with community directories where they exist.


This web page is intended for general information purposes only. While we have attempted to provide information that is helpful for our readers, GBA accepts no legal liability for the contents of this web page. Ensure you check original sources of information on responding to emergencies and requesting emergency assistance for further details and updates. Check details of the general liability provisions of your insurance coverage if you are involved in providing or supporting emergency response, planning or advice. For advice regarding your insurance needs or liability insurance coverage, please contact your insurance broker.


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