Conservation crews wrap lake patrols

Monitoring occurred on Sugar, Mabel, Mara and Kalamalka lakes, as well as the Shuswap River.

Expanded enforcement was making waves on North Okanagan lakes this year.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has wrapped up enhanced enforcement patrols on Sugar, Mabel, Mara and Kalamalka lakes, as well as the Shuswap River.

“We focused on public safety because of fatalities,” said Josh Lockwood, a conservation officer, told the Electoral Area Advisory Committee, which provided $21,000 for the patrols.

“We also focused on the integrity of the Shuswap  River.”

Between July 2 and Sept. 15, 205 boats were checked and 105 charges were issued, including not having a boat license, no spotters and no lifejackets.

There were 204 warnings and 18 boats ordered off the water because of impaired operators or the vessel was in extremely poor condition.

But there were some signs of improvement as there was increased use of lifejackets among paddleboarders on Kalamalka Lake.

The enhanced patrols didn’t start until later in the boating season because it took time to work out all of the details between the officers and the Regional District of North Okanagan.

If EAAC decides to fund the patrols in 2015, Lockwood hopes to hit the water sooner.

“We want to have a bigger window to work in. We could work some days in June,” he said.

EAAC members are pleased with the work of the conservation officers.

“This is the best bang for the buck we’ve seen in a long time,” said director Mike Macnabb.

Director Eugene Foisy supports the enforcement at Sugar Lake.

“Just because you’re at Sugar Lake, it doesn’t mean this is the wild west,” he said.

“You need to follow the  rules.”