As more and more boaters hit the water this summer, the Kelowna RCMP would like to remind people about boater safety.
Each vessel is marked with a limit on the safe number of occupants allowed on board, and under the Canada Shipping Act, the operator can be ticketed if found exceeding that limit. According to Cst. Kris Clark, as long as the boat is in the water, the CSA applies.
There must also be enough personal flotation devices to accommodate everyone on board. In the case of children, they must also be the appropriate size and should all be in good condition. The vessel also requires safety equipment such as throw ropes and ladder, as well as proper registration and permit or licensing.
The issue of onboard alcohol is a bit more complicated. If the boat is in the water but not moored to a public place – such as a public dock or beach – then passengers may consume alcohol. Once the boat is moored to a public place, or multiple boats are tied together, it becomes a public place and alcohol is no longer allowed.
In all cases, the driver must remain sober or they can be charged with operation of a vessel.
Police boats have already begun patrolling Okanagan Lake and the vast majority of issues continue to be alcohol and safety related, but Clark says speed and noise are also problematic.