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RCMP arrest woman after falsely using emergency marine signal four times in ten days

By Evan Taylor Sep 20, 2022 | 3:04 PM

An RCMP patrol boat in Nova Scotia. Photo: NS RCMP.

Lunenburg County RCMP have arrested and charged a woman after she used her boats emergency beacon under false pretenses.

On September 15, 2022, at approximately 4:20 p.m., Lunenburg District RCMP responded to a report of a woman who was falsely activating the emergency beacon on her vessel in the harbour near East River Point. This was the fourth time the woman had falsely activated her emergency beacon since September 5, 2022.

RCMP Spokesperson Cpl. Chris Marshall says emergency responders treat emergency beacons with the utmost seriousness as they are intended to be used for actual marine emergencies. Medical calls and critical boat damage are the most common acceptable uses.

“The officers tried to be reasonable the first few time we went out but with it happening four times in less than two week the officers decided to make an arrest and pursue charges,” Cpl. Marshall said.

Cpl. Marshall also explained that the activation of an emergency beacon typically results in the mobilization of multiple emergency response agencies and their resources, which he says is fine when it’s warranted but when it is not it is costly and takes resources away in the event a real emergency was taking place.

RCMP officers, with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard, responded to the woman’s vessel in an effort to arrest her for False Information and offences under the Radio Communications Act. RCMP members were aided by a Canadian Coast Guard boat and were taken to the vessel. The officers spoke with the woman and told her that she was under arrest. The woman refused to leave her vessel and entered the cabin below.

Given the risk to the RCMP officers trying to board the woman’s vessel, from the Coast Guard boat, the officers were returned to shore so that they could formulate a plan to safely board the vessel and arrest the woman. During this time the woman attempted to sail out of the harbour and collided with two other moored vessels causing damage. The woman’s vessel was then secured to a dock and RCMP officers again attempted to contact the woman. The woman would not speak with officers, nor would she leave the cabin area of the vessel.

At approximately 2:45 a.m. on September 16, the Nova Scotia RCMP Emergency Response Team assisted in having the woman exit the vessel, who was then safely taken into custody.

Cpl. Marshall also confirmed that the emergency beacon was not activated erroneously, rather the woman knew what she was doing but the situations she used the beacon for were not actual emergencies.

The 48-year-old woman was held in custody and will appear in Bridgewater Provincial Court today. She faces criminal charges of Dangerous Operation of a Vessel, False Information (4 counts) and charges of False Radio Communications under the Radio Communications Act (4 counts).


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