North Okanagan boat safety checks underway

Conservation Officers out this weekend. Floaters warned to stay off Shuswap River

Conservation Officers will be checking boats this weekend in the North Okanagan. (CO Service photo)

Conservation Officers will be checking boats this weekend in the North Okanagan. (CO Service photo)

Local lakes and rivers are likely to be full of boaters trying to beat the heat this weekend. Officials will also be out buoying safety.

“Starting this weekend and going until early September, conservation officers will be patrolling local waterbodies doing boat safety inspections to ensure boaters have all the required safety gear, certifications and are operating responsibly,” conservation officer Tanner Beck said.

The patrols have been funded through the Regional District of North Okanagan, District of Coldstream and City of Enderby.

READ MORE: RDNO ends lengthy attempt to bring new boating regulation to Shuswap River

Swimmers, floaters and paddlers are also urged to exercise caution, particularly on the Shuswap River in Enderby.

“It is still high, fast and cold,” Beck said.

Shuswap currently has a strong current, murky water, debris and new log jams, therefore the Shuswap River Ambassadors do not recommend floating with an inflatable at this time.

“The river is never classified as safe but high water creates many additional hazards,” the Ambassadors said in a release.

“The added hazards may pop your vessel and it is difficult to swim to shore with the strong current and cold water conditions.

“With the limited public access to the river, you may be stuck in the water with no vessel for many hours.”

There have been recreational river users on the water in kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards, but if you are not familiar with the Shuswap River or comfortable in fast-moving water, you are urged to enjoy smaller lakes until conditions improve on the river.

“If you are heading out on the water ensure to stay away from the edges where you are more likely to get trapped or flipped by logs, stay clear of motorboats, bring a life jacket/PFD, check the weather forecast (do not go out in the wind/storms), bring a dry change of clothing, know your route, and stick to more docile sections of the river,” the Ambassadors said.

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