Hundreds of people were using the Okanagan River Channel on the Canada Day long weekend in 2019. Float Penticton plans to install markers along the channel in order to help emergency services better locate floaters in need. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Markers to be installed along Okanagan River Channel

Float Penticton wants to help emergency services better locate those in need on the river

Thanks to the efforts of Float Penticton, locating those in need of help while floating down the Okanagan River channel will be easier for emergency services.

Nicholas Kruger, founder of the shuttle service that helps channel-goers get to and from the river, announced that he and his team will be installing two-sided markers along the 7.4 km channel in order to help floaters and pedestrians better identify where they are along the route. He added that he is happy to donate the supplies and have his staff install the signs because it’s good for the community, not just his business.

“I just thought that it needs to be done, and now that I’m part of the river I want to reach out and do that,” said Kruger. “I know this has been needed for a while. Our number one hope is that no one will ever get hurt, and people do a good job of looking after each other on the river.”

The first markers will be added at each kilometre mark along the river, with the possibility of adding more along the route as needed. Kruger said they should be up in the near future, as he and his team have been busy adding the fence posts over the past two days while they wait for the markers to be constructed.

READ MORE: New shuttle service to and from Penticton River Channel

“The river is 7.4 km long so we’ll do the first seven at each kilometre and then when we get a little more money and supplies, we’ll go back and add half-kilometre markers,” said Kruger.

Penticton Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Forster said these markers will be invaluable for first responders that get called out to assist with emergencies on the channel. He said most calls for service to the channel come from passersby who witness someone struggling in the water, and often they are unable to precisely describe where the person is.

“Anything that helps expedite our response time to get to people in need is a good thing, so we’re definitely in support of it,” said Forster. “They’ll say things like near the Green Mountain Road bridge or halfway between two different points, and our delay usually results from poor communication about the location exactly.”

READ MORE: Floating the Okanagan River Channel in jeopardy?

The number of emergency calls regarding people in the Okanagan River Channel varies year to year, according to Forster, who said factors such as river height and flow speed can make for unfavourable conditions for floaters. He said some years the department responds to as few as four to five calls and other years they receive over a dozen.

“In terms of safety on the river, personal flotation devices are always recommended but the other main safety tip is we always encourage to not tie the tubes together,” said Forster. “We know that everyone wants to stay together, but the trouble hits when they hit the abutments at the bridges. Then people can get overturned or trapped inside their float.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

South Shuswap residents kick waste collection concept to the curb

Area C residents prefer existing depot system, suggest more enforcement

Plaques provide historical view of Salmon Arm landmarks

City heritage plaques added to Fletcher Park, Mount Ida Cemetery and Fairgrounds

In photos: Parade kicks off Girls Only Soccer Camp World Cup fun tournament

Players split into 11 countries for music and dance-filled parade, followed by tourney

Province attempting to ease concerns over caribou management

CSRD receives letter promising more consultation while chambers of commerce meet with minister

High-flying ‘Canadian Sasquatch’ spotted in Salmon Arm

Bruce Jones enjoys showing champion belt while volunteering at community events

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pled guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

Development gives Kelowna community garden the boot

Glen Valley residents given a few days to break it down before land development

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

World-famous sopranos to hold concert in Okanagan

Two Canadian sopranos are bringing their world-famous voices to the Okanagan for one night only

Kelowna RCMP release video of reckless theft out of Southwest Mission

“Their tactics were anything but subtle,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey

Most Read