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Staying safe on Southern Interior lakes and rivers

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July 01, 2016 - 9:30 AM

OKANAGAN - The summer is underway and that means boaters and swimmers are eagerly hitting the lakes and waterways.

With that in mind several agencies have been issuing warnings and information on staying safe If boating or swimming is on your agenda this summer.

The following is a list of basic safety equipment for watercrafts: approved lifejacket or personal flotation device for each person, buoyant heaving line (15 metres), bailer or manual bilge pump, at least one paddle or anchor, one water-tight flashlight, one sound signalling device. Most power vessels require one 5BC fire extinguisher.

Common violations:

  • Not enough lifejackets
  • Towing without a spotter
  • Operating a vessel without a pleasure craft operators licence
  • Operating a vessel while under the age of 16
  • Operating a vessel while impaired

"Boating remains the leading cause of drowning among recreational water users in B.C., accounting for 25 of 65 deaths in 2015," a report issued by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General says.

To date in 2016, there have been 13 deaths by drowning in B.C. Several have been in the Southern Interior.

The report also shows the bulk of drowning-related fatalities happen between May and August.

Despite being on the water, the laws defining impaired water vessel operation are no different than operating a motor vehicle.

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol level of more than .08 is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. According to the Government of B.C., the fines for operating a vessel while impaired are:

  • First offence at least $1,000 fine
  • Second offence at least 30 days of imprisonment
  • Third offence at least 120 days of imprisonment

For more information on safe boating visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council's website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kim Anderson 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 © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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