The OPP’s provincial marine training has a new location and it’s close to home.

Throughout May, the program will be run in Gravenhurst on Lake Muskoka. It’s thanks to a partnership between the Town of Gravenhurst and the Residence Inn by Marriott.

Sergeant Dave Moffatt, Provincial Marine Coordinator, says to not expect to see anything different from what has been done in the past. “We’re doing the same operations plan,” he explains. “We’re doing the same exercises. Nothing will change for people on the lake. They will see us in our white boats with the new trainees. It will be business as usual.”

“We’re hoping that this relationship will last for many years to come,” Moffatt says.

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“It’s a wonderful opportunity, really, for us to partner with an important organization that’s going to take care of the safety of our waters,” says Sarah Callan, General Manager of Residence Inn by Marriott Gravenhurst. “For Marriott hotels, we’re welcoming tourists in throughout the summer, many of which may be new boaters out on the water.”

Traditionally, the program was run at the Ontario Fire College, but the building was decommissioned in March 2021. Moffatt says marine training had been done at the college for over three decades.

“We needed a venue that we could still do our training on Lake Muskoka,” Moffatt explains. He says the new location is close to the provincial police’s headquarters in Orillia and allows them to continue training on the “perfect” lake.

There will be 12 21-foot seaswirl boats used by the trainees, while instructors will use one of the three 24-footers that are already in the water at the Muskoka Wharf. Moffatt says the boats were formally used by the police, but have since been replaced by Boston Whalers.

Callan says the officers will be staying at the hotel during the month while training is ongoing. “The residence inn is a staple on the wharf for accommodations and welcoming tours and any opportunity we have to make sure those looking to travel this summer are aware that we’re here and that Muskoka is welcoming travel back after a number of years, after it was halted for so many, it’s a great opportunity for us to promote that,” she adds.

“They have been absolutely incredible to make this happen,” Moffatt says about the Town of Gravenhurst and the Marriott.