EDITORIAL: Boat moorage rules required

Okanagan Lake is an iconic symbol of the valley, but it’s becoming a parking lot

Okanagan Lake is an iconic symbol of the valley, but it’s becoming a parking lot.

More and more people believe it’s appropriate to just moor their boat off of shore or to abandon a vessel altogether. In many cases, these individuals have not consulted with the residents or property owners nearby.

Case in point is the extremely large Fintry Queen, once a bastion of Kelowna’s tourism trade. It is now spending the winter at the head of the lake, near Vernon, as the owner tries to find a permanent home for the vessel.

The problem with these moored boats is they not only clutter up the lake, negatively impacting the esthetic appeal, they pose a potential risk to boaters navigating the lake, especially in the dark.

“All of these barges and vessels aren’t monitored or under any standard to ensure environment standards are maintained,” said Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band chief.

There is also the issue of some people trying to access the boats by using adjacent private land.

Okanagan Lake falls under federal jurisdiction, but Transport Canada insists it doesn’t need to approve boat moorage. But the agency says permission is needed from the owner of the bed of waterway occupied by the vessel, and collision regulations must be met.

However, rules are useless if there is no enforcement.

It’s time for the federal government, as well as the province, to get serious about boat moorage before Okanagan Lake gets even more cluttered.