Vernon and North Okanagan
A calm year for 'water beat' cops
Sep 17, 2012 / 1:13 pm
Reservists with the RCMP are pleased to report a successful boating season.
This is the first year there were no boating fatalities or major injuries to report.
“We’ve had a number over the past years,” said Vernon RCMP Gord Molendyk. “That was their goal (the reservists) – a safe summer in the Okanagan.”
Early high water this spring limited patrols in the Shuswap region. Lakes on tap for the patrol unit include:
- Shuswap Lake.
This year 1035 boats were checked (included kayaks and paddleboards). There were 630 warnings issued for non-compliance of regulations and only 12 boats were removed from the water because of missing equipment issues.
Twenty charges were issued under the Canada Shipping act. Out of those twenty, 12 were for having no boat operators license, 5 were for towing without a spotter, 4 were for underage operation of a Personal Water Craft (Sea doo) and one for not having sufficient life jackets.
“It can be a criminal offense for operating a boat without a spotter (while towing),” said Molendyk. “They chose to go under the Canada Shipping Act rather than under the Criminal Act.”
When questioned about having no impaired operators charged this season, Molendyk said, “I think education and with a couple of high profile cases like the one up in the Shuswap a year ago, they (the reservists) are on the water a lot. They were around the boat ramps, everything. I think education is getting out there. They did check a few (boats) and I think word gets out that, ‘Be careful, they’re checking.’”
Officers said this year the emphasis was on public awareness and education and not on laying charges.
“They’re quite pleased with how the summer went,” said Molendyk, “and I would anticipate they will be operating again next year. We were told unofficially that the reservists working in the Okanagan and Shuswap spent more time and made more contacts than pretty well all of the other boats in the province combined. They were very active this year.”
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