New rescue craft on Skaha Lake means faster response time | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New rescue craft on Skaha Lake means faster response time

Penticton Firefighters Chad Taylor and Steve Garrett demonstrate two new rescue watercraft introduced to Skaha Lake by the fire department.
August 26, 2016 - 3:59 PM

PENTICTON - Skaha Lake is a safer playground today, following the acquisition and deployment of two rescue watercraft on the lake by the Penticton Fire Department.

Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson says the two jet ski will be stationed at Skaha Marina for use anywhere on the lake and down the channel.

Using two man crews the craft will dramatically cut rescue time on the lake, Watkinson says, knocking up to 15 minutes off their current response time.

“Essentially they are taking away launch procedures. They’re similar to rescue craft used in Hawaii, with room for up to three persons on board and capable of towing a rescue sled where emergency lifesaving procedures such as CPR can be carried out on scene,” he says, adding the watercraft are capable of speeds up to 55 miles per hour.

Watkinson says the $40,000 funding for the two boats will come from the fire department’s capital budget, which also calls for purchase of a new boat for Okanagan Lake.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says the rescue craft will be a great enhancement towards accessing people in distress on the lake and in the channel in a timely manner.

Skaha Lake has been the scene of two drownings this year. Both victims were visitors to the area.

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