RCMP officers will be patrolling North Okanagan lakes starting Friday, June 4, 2021. (RCMP photo)

RCMP officers will be patrolling North Okanagan lakes starting Friday, June 4, 2021. (RCMP photo)

RCMP boat patrols start today in the North Okanagan

With summer weather here, the RCMP will be making sure locals are enjoying the water safely and lawfully

RCMP officers will be out patrolling North Okanagan lakes, starting today, June 4.

Kicking off in the middle of a heatwave that’s sure to draw many to the water, the seasonal patrols will focus on ensuring safe and lawful enjoyment on the lakes.

The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP say the first step is for residents 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, Const. Chris Terleski said in a press release Friday.

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).

Police will be on the lookout for impaired boating, since alcohol is a factor in roughly 40 per cent of Canadian boating-related fatalities, according to the release.

“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,” Terleski said. Whether you are swimming, canoeing, kayaking or operating a motorized watercraft, if you are going out on the water, stay sober.”

The RCMP provided a few safety tips to remember before jumping into summer:

• 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.

More information on safe boating can be found on the Canadian Safe Boating Council website.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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