Penticton Fire Department seeking donations for Okanagan Lake rescue craft

Penticton Fire Department hopes to raise $30,000 by the end of January to replace its outdated zodiac with the safer, more seaworthy craft pictured above.
Image Credit: Contributed

PENTICTON - The Penticton Fire Department is looking for $30,000 to help purchase of a new rescue boat for Okanagan Lake.

Fire chief Larry Watkinson says the 24 foot, aluminum hulled, double jetted rescue boat will replace an aging Zodiac that is becoming more and more expensive to maintain.

“It’s 40 years old, and it’s falling apart,” Watkinson says. “It can’t handle the big waves that get tossed up in extreme conditions in Okanagan Lake, and there is only one seat for a firefighter to sit on. There’s also no room in it for patients,” he adds.

The fire department is called several times a year to the water to engage in searches, assist other departments and aid boaters in distress.

Watkinson says the fire department approached the regional district for grant funding but was denied, while the City of Penticton has put $150,000 towards the lake rescue program. Part of that funding has been spent purchasing rescue watercraft for Skaha Lake last summer, leaving the department with $110,000.

The fire department has received some generous donations of late, including a recent $10,000 donation from the Penticton Lakeside Resort, but the department still needs another $30,000 by the end of January to fund the $180,000 jet boat.

Watkinson says he would be happy to meet with organizations interested in contributing to provide a presentation to a group or an individual. He can be reached at 250-490-2309.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

THOMPSON: Trump either guilty or innocent of being Putin pawn
  OPINION There is no midway point between guilt and innocence. One can be guilty or innocent. You cannot be a little bit guilty…or a little bit innocent. It’s like being a little bit pregnant. So, an

Top News