Kelowna RCMP wants boaters on Okanagan Lake to stay safe during busy long weekend

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Safety on the lake during the Canada Day long weekend is everyone’s responsibility and one of the RCMP’s top priority.

The RCMP’s vision is to eliminate senseless and preventable deaths on our waterways.

The majority of accidents are caused by the boat operator and not by mechanical, equipment failure or environmental causes. Human carelessness and failure to keep a proper lookout are the two primary causes of boating accidents.

Don’t push your limits when playing in water. Many drowning instances are a result of fatigue and being too far from shore.

Boaters, tubers and swimmers alike should always wear life jackets or personal floatation devices when on the water. This can save lives. Tubers: be sure to wear a life jacket and a helmet.

Before heading out on the water, boaters should make sure their boat is equipped with enough Canadian approved lifejackets to fit themselves and everyone on board.

Wearing a life jacket or Personal Flotation Devices is the best defense for surviving cold-water shock and hypothermia.

Drinking and driving which includes the use of cannabis, whether on land or water, is illegal and punishable under the Criminal Code. It is well known that using these and taking to the water can lead to dangerous situations. Operators are responsible for the safety of their guests and should consider other users of the waterway.

Beware of fatigue, sun, wind and boat motion.  All can dull your senses and impair fine motor skills and judgment.

Watch your speed and don’t race on the lake. Speed is a major contributor to incidents on the roadways and on the water. Slow down.

Make sure your vessel is equipped with the proper required safety equipment such as sound signals, bailers, oars/paddles/anchor, flares, fire extinguishers, etc.  Please check the Safety Boating Guide or Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to see the requirements for the size of your vessel.  Items such as navigation lights are a must when operating the vessel in restricted visibility or at night.  Also, ensure that the vessel is registered/licenced and the operator has a proper operator licence such as Pleasure Craft Operator Card for pleasure crafts with engine over 10 hp. 

More tips on safe boating can be found here, https://tc.canada.ca/en/marine-transportation/marine-safety/office-boating-safety.

The Kelowna RCMP will be out all weekend in Okanagan Lake keeping the waters safe.