Heritage group receives funding to refloat the SS Naramata

The SS Sicamous Heritage Park recently received $25,000 from the province to begin work refloating the SS Naramata, a tugboat that plied Okanagan Lake from 1914 to 1967.

PENTICTON - With a fresh infusion of cash in the bank, the SS Sicamous Heritage Park hopes to refloat the SS Naramata.

Heritage Park assistant manager Jessie Dunlop says the heritage park received $25,000 in seed funding from the province recently to make some repairs to the tug in hopes of returning it to Okanagan Lake, where it will take on new life as a floating museum.

“We’re planning to commission a study to find out how best to raise the boat,” she says, noting there are many things to consider in digging the boat out of the ground and getting it back in the water.

“We want to get it right the first time,” Dunlop says.

Dunlop expects it will take two years and several rounds of funding to get the tugboat back in the lake. She says even though the engines are still intact, any plans to operate the vessel are “pretty far down the road.”

“If we can get it to water, we’ll be very happy,” Dunlop says.

The SS Naramata was grounded near the SS Sicamous as an emergency measure after a hole in its hull was discovered in 1991. A trench was dug and the boat moved in a hasty measure to prevent it from sinking.

The SS Naramata was a steam tug used by the Canadian Pacific Railway to push barges and break ice on Okanagan Lake from 1914 to 1967.

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