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Kelowna  

Liquor rules on the lake

Rob Gibson

Even the police enjoy lake life.

Phil Boissonneault and Randy Ferris have been in law enforcement for 30-plus years, and they still can't get enough.

"This is awesome, are you kidding? Working full time on the lake. It doesn't get better than this," says Boissonneault, who has been retired and working as what the RCMP call a reservist for a decade.

He and his partner know they have an important job, and they take it seriously – but engaging and educating the public, specifically boaters is what gets them out of bed.

Believe it or not, not everyone knows the rules and regulations on the water, or what they need to have on board.

Especially when it comes to alcohol. Fair enough, they did just change the rules, "now with the changes you cannot have open liquor on boats unless your boat is large enough and has a built-in bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom, you can't have open liquor on board."

If that sounds harsh, these two, at least, see their roles as safety first and education second.

"We will give them the option of taking the alcohol back to shore and storing it in their vehicle or the house or cabin. Unless they're misbehaving, then we have the discretion and authority to hand out tickets. Mostly we hand out warnings and, honestly, the young people we meet on the lake are awesome. They are respectful and responsible, just a few yahoos, and we know what to do with them."

You have to know a thing or two when you operate a 28-foot Zodiac.

RCMP assist with rescue missions and helped with a pontoon boat on fire recently off the shores of Peachland. Their bread and butter is safety and education.

"We started an education program because the majority of boaters do not know the ins and outs of their safety protocols or the new Liquor Control Act."

So the next time you see the RCMP boat, give them a wave. It could be Phil and Randy. They don't want to give you a ticket – but they will if you deserve it.



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