Starting June 4th, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP officers will be out patrolling lakes throughout the North Okanagan.
The seasonal patrols will focus on ensuring the safe, lawful enjoyment of our waterways, and the RCMP want to remind residents that the first step to having a safe, enjoyable time out on the water is to prepare in advance.
“If you are going out on the water, being prepared in advance and having the necessary safety equipment will allow you to better manage any emergencies that should arise,” states Constable Chris Terleski, Media Relations Officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “We also want to remind boaters that every power-driven boat requires the operator to hold a valid pleasure craft operator’s license. Failing to provide a valid license could result in the operator being directed to shore and ticketed under the Small Vessel Regulations (SVR).”
Since alcohol related boating incidents account for approximately 40% of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways, police are going to be on the look out for impaired boating.
“Operating a vessel while impaired is a Criminal offence in Canada and not only is it illegal, it’s unsafe and can be incredibly dangerous for yourself and others,” adds Terleski. ‘Whether you are swimming, canoeing, kayaking, or operating a motorized watercraft, if you are going out on the water, stay sober.”
Before you jump in to cool off this summer, here are a few simple safety tips to remember:
If you cannot swim, stay out of the water and seek the shade instead.
Wear a personal flotation device. Tragedy can strike in an instant. Don’t assume that you will have time to put on a lifejacket.
Watch your speed. Don’t race to the lake and don’t race on the lake. Speed is a major contributor to incidents on the roadways and on the water.
Do not put your feet in fast moving water that is deeper than the length of your arm. If a foot becomes entrapped by rocky bottom in deep water, the current will eventually push the swimmer over face first into the water.
- If you are going to a less-traveled area, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Always remember that alcohol and water don’t mix.
- Keep a close eye on little ones, who may be more unpredictable, around water.’”
- For more information on safe boating visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council website. https://csbc.ca/en/