Regional boat policing paying off

Authorities are making waves with some boaters and that’s generating a lot of praise

Authorities are making waves with some boaters and that’s generating a lot of praise.

The Electoral Area Advisory Committee is pleased with the boat patrols provided under contract by the B.C. Conservation Service on the Shuswap River and Sugar, Mabel and Kalamalka lakes.

“They are not hard-ass cops. They are doing education but they’re not afraid to hand out tickets,” said director Mike Macnabb.

EAAC budgets $21,000 a year for the contract.

“We are getting very good use of money,” said Bob Fleming, EAAC chairperson.

While on the water, the conservation officers keep an eye out for a number of issues, including lifejackets, alcohol use, boat operator licenses, fishing licenses and vessel integrity.

“Sugar Lake has had some problems and they are starting to see a change in behaviour,” said Fleming, adding that another high use area for boaters is Cosens Bay on Kal Lake.

“They (officers) are making a difference.”

Between June 28 and Aug. 29, officers checked 153 vessels and 428 people. Fifty-six charges were issued as well as 202 warnings, while 19 orders were issued.

In one case, one boat and two paddleboards were ordered off a lake because they didn’t have lifejackets while some boats were stopped for not towing without spotters.

“They are enforcing a lot of existing rules on the lakes and on the Shuswap River,” said director Rick Fairbairn.

“People are getting the idea that there are existing regulations on the water.”