The Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP boat and its officers are gearing up for a busy season on Okanagan waters.
RCMP vessels will be on patrol throughout the summer and they want is reminding the boating public to be prepared while out on area lakes.
“With the current warm weather, this is the perfect opportunity to ensure you are prepared for taking to the water,” said RCMP Const. Kelly Brett.
Here are a few simple safety tips to remember.
• 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 life-jacket.
• 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 trapped 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. Impaired driving laws are the same for operating a boat as they are for a vehicle.
“Our officers will be out on the vessels conducting routine patrols and engaging with boaters conducting safety checks,” said Brett. “Every power-driven boat requires the operator to hold a valid pleasure craft operator’s licence. Failing to provide a valid licence could result in the operator being directed to shore and ticketed under the Small Vessel Regulations.”
Impaired driving will also be on the officers’ top priority list this summer. Drinking and boating accounts for approximately 40 per cent of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways.
“Whether or not your craft is motorized, you can be charged with impaired operation of a vessel under the Criminal Code of Canada if your blood alcohol level exceeds the .08 threshold,” said Brett. “In the eyes of the law, impaired boating, like impaired operation of a motor vehicle, is a criminal offence that can have repercussions far beyond the loss of your boating privileges.”
For more information on safe boating visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council website.