Burnaby North MLA Richard Lee (left) and B.C. Lt.-Governor

Burnaby North MLA Richard Lee (left) and B.C. Lt.-Governor

Local officer honoured for boat safety efforts

A Vernon conservation officer has been honoured for his passion in boating safety.

Sgt. Josh Lockwood, North Okanagan zone supervisor, was recently named National Marine Professional of the Year by the Canadian Safe Boating Council, a non-profit boating safety organization dedicated to reducing deaths on Canada’s waterways.

“The community recommended me for the award so it feels very good,” said Lockwood.

“It’s a team effort. I got the award but it’s a team effort with the Integrated Shuswap Enforcement Unit. I did the co-ordination and the planning. It’s nice to be recognized by the federal government for the work we do in boating policing.”

With 31 years in law enforcement, Lockwood has an infectious passion for boating safety and works hard to educate boaters in his jurisdiction about the perils of impaired boating.

His jurisdiction includes some highly popular ‘party beaches,’ where fatalities are not uncommon every summer.

Lockwood’s outreach efforts include public forums, education and compliance projects and night-time lake patrols.

He also launched ‘Help Kids Float’ last year, after learning that many of the First Nation’s youth in the Okanagan/Shuswap communities were at a high drowning risk because they often don’t have access to proper life-jackets.

The program mobilized the public to donate unwanted PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices). Collection bins were scattered throughout the community in malls and conservation officer service offices.

Thanks to these efforts, many more recreational boaters in Lockwood’s jurisdiction are enjoying boating responsibly and safely.