There are many hazards when it comes to water activities and boating, but you don’t expect to find the hazard before even hitting the water.
Unfortunately for Brandi Morin, the hazard was on the dock. On July 10, Morin fell through a broken rubber mat covering a gap in the floating dock.
Morin was vacationing at La Casa with family. They made their way to the docks of Lake Okanagan Resort to rent a boat through Okanagan Lake Boat Rentals.
“We were preparing to go on this boat ride that I was renting and we were getting fitted up for life jackets. I went to step, we were out on the docks, and my leg fell through the dock. It was like this rubber foam connector thing and it was broken, and when my leg fell through it fell through between concrete, because part of the dock is made of concrete, and it was stuck in there.”
Morin’s leg was scraped and bruised, but she was relatively OK. “It was really scary, because my leg could have busted in two.”
Morin said she made the decision to continue with renting a boat with her family but was sore and uncomfortable for the duration of the trip.
“If my five-year-old had stepped there she would have gone completely through and be at risk of drowning because it was very deep under there.”
Morin requested a refund from the boat rental company for her injuries, but the rental owners redirected her to Lake Okanagan Resort.
“They said, ‘we rent the dock to use this facility for our boat rental, but we’re not responsible for the dock.”
Boat rental staff explained to Morin that they’ve been requesting repairs to the dock for some time with no action from the resort.
Capital News sat down with Tommy Fang, an accountant and spokesperson for the resort. He explained that Okanagan Lake Boat Rentals signed a contract requiring them to have third-party liability in case of injuries to any clients.
Fang said the resort is responsible for any significant repairs to the dock, but small maintenance of things like the rubber mats falls on the rental company.
“[The boat rental owner] did mention a maintenance job… and he came to fix the dock, but he never mentioned that small piece. To be honest…we just really didn’t pay attention to a little hole.”
Since the incident, the boat rental company did reinforce the spot where Morin fell with a second rubber mat. Caution tape was also put up around that particular area.
In terms of a refund, Morin was sent back to the boat rental company by Fang. She confirmed the boat rental owner has said she will get a refund, but she has yet to see it come through.
“I’m OK now. As long as I receive that compensation I’m happy with that. It could’ve been way worse and way more traumatic.”
Morin and her family were able to make the best of the rest of their trip to the Okanagan, and have since travelled home to Alberta. She’s recovered from her injuries and hopes repairs to the dock prevent similar incidents in the future.