Majority of North Okanagan, Shuswap water-goers broke the law last summer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Majority of North Okanagan, Shuswap water-goers broke the law last summer

A B.C. Conservations Officer Service on Shuswap Lake, July 2022.
Image Credit: Twitter:BC CO Service

The vast majority of boaters, floaters, and stand-up paddleboarders in the North Okanagan and Shuswap broke the rules in one way or another last summer.

A report from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service found that 71 per cent of vessels checked last summer were not in compliance with the regulations.

However, this shows a slight improvement over 2021 when 80 per cent of vessels were breaking the rules.

Conservation Officers checked 1,314 individuals on the water of which 854 were not in in compliance.

Checks took place on Kalamalka Lake, Shuswap River, Sugar Lake, Swan Lake, Mabel Lake, and Mara Lake.

Mabel Lake had the highest level of non-compliance at 86 per cent of users breaking the rules, while Mara Lake had the lowest level of non-compliance at 63 per cent.

Officers took a soft approach to those breaking the rules with more than 700 warnings issued and only 34 tickets handed out.

The Conservation Officer Service did however order 80 vessels to shore for significant safety concerns, the majority of which were human-powered with no safety equipment.

Rules change depending on what type of vessel a person is on, so boat owners need a licence, but even those on an inflatable floating tube still need life-jackets and whistles.

Infractions range from not carrying a life jacket while on a floaty to fishing without a licence.

The report says that more boat owners are following the rules and the Conservation Officer Service is seeing very few unlicensed boat operators, or those missing life jackets and other safety equipment.

However, the same can not be said for stand-up paddleboarders with the vast majority not following the rules.

Stand-up paddleboarders are legally required to carry a lifejacket and a whistle.

The popular tubing spot on the Shuswap River was the busiest and it has seen a big increase in locals carrying lifejackets and whistles while they float down the river.

Compliance among tubing tourists however was far lower.

Overall the report states that most boat owners are coming into line with the rules.

"Many boaters are now expecting to be checked on the water as they have been checked in the past," the report states.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2023

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