A life-saving device installed at a White Lake beach where a person drowned last year is not being replaced after it was stolen twice this year.
In 2021, the Shuswap Lifeboat Society installed Life Rings (also known as a Kisbee ring or Perry buoy) at 10 locations throughout the Shuswap, including one at Hugh Road Community Park in White Lake. Lifeboat Society President Bruce Weicker said a Life Ring was requested for that location after a 27-year-old man drowned there in July 2021.
It was learned on May 6, 2022, that the large orange Life Ring, marked with the words “Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue” (RCMSAR) and “Supplied by Station 106,” along with 50 feet of rope, was missing from the White Lake location. The ring was replaced by RCMSAR Station 106 on May 19. RCMSAR checked the station on June 22 and found the replacement ring was still there. On July 1, it was missing.
Weicker said instead of another ring, a note will be going up at the White Lake Life Ring station stating, “Sorry for the inconvenience but due to theft, no life ring is available at this time.”
“It’s very disappointing and I know the folks at White Lake have worked hard to get a Kids Don’t Float kiosk in just this past spring,” said Weicker. “They had that in just before the long weekend in May. So they are very much concerned about their area, and then to find out Life Rings have been stolen, not once but twice this spring, I know that they will be concerned and on the lookout.”
There have also been challenges at a couple of the Kids Don’t Float kiosks, through which the Shuswap Lifeboat Society makes life-jackets available to borrow for children while they’re out on the water for the day. At the Sicamous kiosk, new life-jackets have gone out and not been returned, and old and unusable ones have been dumped there. Weicker said they lose a number of life-jackets each year from the kiosks, but the loss from the Sicamous one this year has been unusually high.
Regarding dumping, Weicker estimated around 40 were left at the Magna Bay kiosk in May. Though some appeared like new, none could be inspected in advance of their being placed at the kiosk to determine what was safe for use and what wasn’t.
On the upside, Weicker said good life-jackets are donated each year, and this mostly compensates for the number that aren’t returned.
“In previous years we lost more, but then those that were donated sort of balanced it out,” said Weicker. “Last year we probably had a gain of quite a number of donated life-jackets versus those that weren’t returned.”
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