Emergency officials urge respectful boating this long weekend

Boaters are reminded lake levels remain the highest seen in decades and some planning is necessary before heading out on the water this long weekend.

A no wake, low wake, a guideline for respectful boating in the Okanagan has been created to raise awareness of boating practices during high water levels to minimize the erosion of vulnerable shoreline and damage of property in Kalamalka, Okanagan, Ellison/Duck and Wood lakes.

With some area lake levels being nearly 60 cm over full pool, below are some tips for boaters to ensure their safety and minimize further damage to the foreshore.

Know before you go. Find out which boat launches and fueling stations are open in the area. Most boat launches have been closed for safety reasons.

Visit cordmergency.ca/map to view the 2017 Freshet Boating Wake Map No Wake to plan routes, familiarize where vulnerable shorelines are located and follow the wake zone guidelines.

Low wake zones mean no hydroplaning, for now. It takes some effort to get the vessel off the water and results in damaging waves. Wake height should be no more than 30 centimetres (1 foot).

Large and heavier boats create damaging waves even at low speeds. Extra caution is needed when cruising the lake. Keep in the centre whenever possible.

Small and light boats should remain 300 metres from the shoreline whenever possible or travel in the centre of the lake when approaching vulnerable shorelines. Go “dead slow” when travelling within 300 metres of the shoreline.

When operating at no-wake speed, trim the drive or outboard to allow the boat to proceed with smallest wake possible.

Watch for debris and submerged docks.

Once lake levels reach a more reasonable levels, regular boating activities can resume.

Wake-free options are encouraged like Stand Up Paddleboards, kayaks and canoes.

For more information, visit www.cordemergency.ca,

For municipal information such as boat launch, park and beach closures, and water quality advisories, visit their websites:

·         City of Kelowna

·         City of West Kelowna

·         District of Lake Country

·         District of Peachland

·         Regional District of Central Okanagan

·         Westbank First Nation