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Rescue floats new boats

Just in time for the busy summer boating season, the Regional Rescue Program has received two new vessels.

Once training is complete over the next few weeks, the new marine rescue boats will be operated by crews with the Lake Country Fire Department and Peachland Fire and Rescue Service, replacing vessels that have been operating for many years.

The boats were supplied to the Regional Rescue Program by Kanter Marine Incorporated in St. Thomas, Ontario which was the successful bidder through a public tender process at a combined cost of $305,100.   Rather than replace one boat this year and another next, some administrative efficiencies were realized by purchasing the boats for Peachland and Lake Country this year.

Each vessel has a rigid aluminum hull with inflatable collars. A new seating system and configuration incorporates shock absorbers to provide a high level of comfort and safety for those operating the boats. This will help reduce the potential for injuries and provide a safe environment for crew members who are often answering distress calls in extreme conditions.

The Central Okanagan Regional Rescue Program has provided marine rescues since the 1980s and with vessels stationed in Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland, provides a rapid, reliable and trained response to marine emergencies on Central Okanagan lakes. 

While local governments fund the program, the provincial government through Emergency Management BC reimburses costs when boats are called to respond to an emergency. 

The Regional Rescue Program also works with the RCMP and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue to provide appropriate responses to the boating community.

Boating is an important part of the quality of life for many in the Central Okanagan, not to mention its impact on tourism and recreation.  

Transport Canada estimates there are 69,000 registered boats in the region and a recent survey found on a ‘peak’ day, there were more than 1,400 boats on Okanagan Lake.

The regional approach to marine rescue is a key component of the Rescue Program in the Central Okanagan.  Since 2009, the vessel in Lake Country has responded to 21 calls on Wood Lake  and Kalamalka Lake north to the RDCO boundary. The rescue boat in Peachland has handled 85 calls for help on Okanagan Lake from south of Gellatly, to the RDCO boundary.  

In that same time, the Boston Whaler Fire/Rescue vessel located at the Kelowna Yacht Club operated by the Kelowna Fire Department has responded to 170 distress calls on Okanagan Lake from Gellatly north to the RDCO boundary.

All boaters in the Central Okanagan are reminded to be safe and practice smart boating. 

The Canadian Safe Boating Council reminds everyone to wear a life jacket, take a boating safety course and not to drink and boat. A person operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol can be criminally charged and lose their driver's license. 

View more information and safety tips on the Council website:  http://www.csbc.ca/

Boat facts:

Peachland - This boat will be moored on Okanagan Lake within Peachland boundaries thanks to the valuable partnership and ongoing contribution of the Peachland Yacht Club. The new boat will ensure the safety of the public and responding members as the previous boat was undersized and lacked the required stability to operate safely in rough water.

  • Length: 7 meters
  • Beam: 2.885 meters
  • Top speed: 47 knots
  • Engine: Twin 200 horse BRP Evinrude E-Tec outboards
  • Designed for patient transport
  • Space to mount a fire pump

Lake Country - This smaller boat is for mobility and trailering to various lakes. This boat will remain on a trailer when not in use.

  • Length: 6 meters
  • Beam: 2.57 meters
  • Top speed: 47 knots
  • Engines: Twin 150 horse BRP Evinrude E-Tec outboards
  • Space to mount a fire pump

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