Cottagers have been making the trip to the Haliburton area for the May long weekend for generations.

But according to Sergeant Jason Folz of the Ontario Provincial Police, this weekend may be very different than any other.

Flooding in Haliburton County and area has changed navigation and introduced plenty of hazards he says.

“(Cottagers) pride themselves on knowing these waterways but the water has never been this high,” says Folz. “Things have changed and we need to exercise caution.”

He says things like navigation buoys may be submerged, and water is in different places than normal, so it is not boating as usual to start the season.”

“Figure it out again before we fully dive into summer here,” he offers.

The big concern for Folz is the sheer amount of debris in the water right now.

“High water levels, faster moving water, and then the floating debris issue,” he explains. “The top of the surface, logs, trees, branches, people’s patio furniture. There may be stuff just below the surface that is neutrally buoyant that may cause a problem for boaters.”

With the water still high, boaters are being urged to travel at idle speed and to avoid throwing a wake.

“People need to use that extra little bit of caution and as usual we always preach, wear your lifejacket,” he reminds.

Folz says the OPP’s marine unit will be out in large numbers this weekend enforcing navigation, safety and alcohol laws.