The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station #106 is reminding the public about some safety tips to mark Boating Safety Week. (File photo) The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station #106 is reminding the public about some safety tips to mark Boating Safety Week. (File photo)

Boating Safety Week a chance to take stock of hazards on Shuswap Lake

Submerged logs, cold water and intoxicated captains are all safety concerns

High water in Shuswap and surrounding lakes brings a unique set of hazards to Boating Safety Week beginning June 6.

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station #106 station Chief Fred Banham said the water in Shuswap Lake is still too cold to swim in comfortably and there aren’t many houseboats on the lake yet, but other boaters are out in force. Banham said high water in rivers that feed into Shuswap Lake carry lots of debris.

Submerged logs and other floating hazards are most common near the mouths of rivers and where arms of the lake converge, like at Cinnemousun Narrows. Banham saidlogs which have recently fallen into the lake or were sucked down the river are often easy to avoid for boaters because they float on the surface of the water. Of greater concern, however, is the wooden debris that has been in the water long enough to become waterlogged, floating at or below the water’s surface.

According to a post on the RCMSAR station’s Facebook page, some boaters in the Blind Bay area recently removed a deadhead log that was floating vertically, creating a hidden hazard.

Read More: Flooding prompts closure of parks along Shuswap and Mara lakes

Read More: Woman injured as purse snatched downtown Vernon

Banham said that as the lake level rises to the point that lakefront buildings have to be protected with sandbags, boaters should slow down and keep their wake small as a courtesy to property owners.

Along with the hazards of high lake levels, Boating Safety Week is a good time for boat owners to refresh their knowledge of other ways to stay safe on the water.

“The number one tip is to wear a life-jacket or personal flotation device every time you go out on the water,” said Erin Vieira, the Shuswap Watershed Council’s program manager.

“We sometimes think we’re immune to accidents, but we’re not. When an accident happens, your life-jacket buys you time to be rescued.”

Child-sized life-jackets are normally available to borrow free of charge at 14 locations around the Shuswap, but two of the loaner stations have been closed due to flooding.

“We want all children to be safe while boating or swimming in the lakes, and if a child needs a life-jacket they’re there to borrow. All we ask is they be returned for another child to use,” Banham said.

Read More: Second video of Kelowna RCMP arrest shows Mountie punching suspect at least 10 times

Read More: ‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

A sober captain is another important component of a safe boating trip. Vieira said boating under the influence is illegal and, according to the Canadian Red Cross, alcohol is a factor in 41 per cent of boating-related fatalities.

Vieira said many people have a common misconception about drowning which can be dangerous. Quoting a Canadian Red Cross poll, Vieira said half of parents believe they can supervise a child in the water by simply listening for signs of trouble.

“A lot of people don’t realize that drowning happens silently,” Vieira said.

“A swimmer in distress can’t call out for help, they are putting all their energy into staying afloat.”

According to the Red Cross, inadequate supervision is a factor in 75 per cent of drowning deaths for children under 10 years old.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Shuswap Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Shuswap potter’s empty bowls help fill food bank

Mud, Sweat and Tears’ Bruce Nyeste expects project to raise $12,000 for Salmon Arm’s Second Harvest

Morning Start: Naps could save your life

Your morning start for Wednesday, July 9, 2020

Columbia Shuswap Regional District warns ‘dock hogs’ to follow time limits

Boats have been moored for days in some cases at public boat launch docks

Volunteers pull off late-night eagle rescue in Salmon Arm

Bird bound for a rehabilitation centre in Delta

Salmon Arm firefighters respond to nighttime garage blaze

Residential structure fire at Canoe property quickly extinguished

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Security guard assaulted in Kamloops park thanks police, public for quick arrest

Glen Warner, 71, was attacked on July 2 by a man who was asked by Warner to not smoke

Portraits celebrating Syilx culture now on display at Kelowna International Airport

Sheldon Pierre Louis’ art will be on display at YLW from now until July 2021

After slow start, Summerland sees more tourism activity

Majority of visitors come from within British Columbia

EDITORIAL: Accommodating Okanagan fruit pickers

Campsite for agricultural workers to open in Summerland

Deer and moose die after being chased by dogs in South Okanagan

BC conservation officers are asking the public to control their pets

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

Most Read