West Kelowna  

Group of boaters caught by wind when engine fails

Pontoon boat was in distress

Rob Gibson

UPDATE 3:20 p.m.

A Castanet reader has reached to let us know they were on the lake last night and spotted the pontoon boat in distress.

Sam tells Castanet, "it started off as a nice calm evening night but it quickly changed and I'm grateful we were there because it could have been a disaster."

Sam says she was having dinner with the boat owner in Peachland  and when they started to head back to West Kelowna they spotted some lights flashing in the middle of the lake.

"The winds changed and the waves just picked up and it was like being on the ocean."

Sam says they managed to reach the other pontoon boat and attach a tow line but it snapped several times on the way back to West Kelowna because it was so rough' "it took almost three hours."

When they arrived at the Gellatly dock Sam says  the rescue was there gearing up to help, "it would have been a totally different story if we hadn't helped, nobody was on the lake."

ORIGINAL 10:19 a.m.

A group of boaters ran into engine trouble Tuesday night on Okanagan Lake across from Gellatly Bay in West Kelowna.

Kelowna Fire Dept. Platoon Capt. Shayne Kiehlbauch says they received the report at 9 p.m. Tuesday and determined that the 10 boaters were not in any distress and, in fact, had engine trouble. "The fire department doesn't do towing, we gave them a list of towing numbers and made sure that they were not in distress."

Kiehlbauch says if it's a case where it's super windy and the boat is going to be blown into rocks or somewhere that can cause harm rescue crews will go out and tow people to the nearest dock and then the onus is on the boat owner to arrange to get their boat wherever it's supposed to be.

"But if they're not in distress and it's a nice calm evening and just can't get going then we pass on the information for towing company phone numbers."


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