Kelowna News

Marine rescue boats hit the water

One of two recently purchased Marine Rescue Boats is put through it's paces on Okanagan Lake on Friday, June 27, 2014.
Image Credit: Contributed

KELOWNA – The firefighters in Lake Country and Peachland will be blasting around Okanagan, Kal and Wood Lakes this summer in brand new marine rescue boats.

The pair of vessels were purchased by the Central Okanagan Regional Rescue Program for a total cost of $305,000 and were built by Kanter Marine in St. Thomas, Ont.

The boats replace the fire department’s old rescue boats.

They have rigid aluminum hulls with inflatable collars, with shock absorbers to keep the rescuers riding inside comfortable and safe.

Crews will be training over the next few weeks and the vessels will be in service in time for the busy boating season on the lakes in the Central Okanagan.

Transport Canada figures there are roughly 69,000 registered boats in the region and a recent survey found that there are up to 1,400 on the lake on a busy day.

The province covers the cost of the rescues while the regional district pays for the boats.

Since 2009 the rescue boats in Peachland, Kelowna and Lake Country have responded to 276 distress calls.

Image Credit: Contributed

Regional Rescue Program – Marine Vessel Facts (provided by RDCO)

This boat will be moored on Okanagan Lake within Peachland boundaries thanks to the valuable partnership and ongoing contribution of the Peachland Yacht Club. The new boat will ensure the safety of the public and responding members as the previous boat was undersized and lacked the required stability to operate safely in rough water.
- Length:  7 meters     Beam:   2.885 meters
- Top speed:  47  Knots
- Engines are twin 200 horse  BRP Evinrude E-Tec outboards
- Designed to accommodate patient transport by securing a stretcher at the rear
- Provisions for future mounting of a fire pump

Lake Country
This smaller boat is for mobility and trailering to various lakes. This boat will remain on a trailer when not in use.
- Length:  6 meters     Beam:   2.570 meters
- Top speed: 47   Knots
- Engines are twin 150 horse  BRP Evinrude E- Tec outboards
- Provisions for future mounting of a fire pump

Image Credit: Contributed

The Marine Rescue Service provides rescue services to boaters on major lakes within the Regional District. This includes Okanagan Lake, Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake, including:
·    Search and Rescue of victims
·    Response to Motor Vehicle Accidents involving vehicles in the water
·    Public Safety issues
·    Boaters in distress (emergent situations)
·    Above or in water only (no underwater capability)
·    Marine Evacuation
·    Environmental (Spill) response and assessment
·    Safety during public events

This is a unique service arrangement, and one of the most organized Marine Rescue services run by fire departments on behalf of a Regional District in the Province. This is largely owing to the unique marine environment and use of lakes for recreation and tourism within our region.

In  2010,  the RDCO Major Lakes Recreational Marine Facilities Study found that rapid population growth within the region was driving increasing recreation and tourism demands. As a part of the study, Ipsos Reid conducted 1,000 telephone interviews which found that four-in- ten households in the RDCO own a boat and that one-in-ten will likely purchase a boat in the next five years.

As a part of the study, boat launch counts were taken at 27 sites during the summer period in 2009, finding the estimated number of boats launched from mid-May to mid-September was 53,000.

Image Credit: Contributed

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

File photo.
Vernon car wash fender bender ends in stalemate
A soapy windshield and conflicting stories were both factors in why the B.C. small claims courts failed to find anyone liable after a fender bender at a Vernon car wash left two drivers and the business owner all pointing the finger of blame at e
The Chase is C.C. Jentsch's highly rated red wine blend.
Wine of the Week: The Chase from C.C. Jentsch Cellars
The B.C. wine industry lost another beloved member. News of the recent passing of Chris Jentsch of C.C. Jentsch Cellars has saddened the community. Chris and his wife Betty both grew up in the Okanagan orchard industry and eventually convert

Top News