Two-thirds of North Okanagan boaters and floaters break the rules | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Two-thirds of North Okanagan boaters and floaters break the rules

Image Credit: Regional District of North Okanagan

The Conservation Officer Service reports that two-thirds of all vessels on the water in the North Okanagan this summer were breaking the rules in one way or another.

And while the number is high, the results from the Conservation Officer Service actually show an improvement in compliance compared to 2019.

According to a report by the Conservation Officer Service, of the 716 vessels checked this summer, 66 per cent were not fully adhering to the regulations. In 2019 conservation officers reported a 75 per cent non-compliance rate.

While the popularity and increase in the number of people floating down the Shuswap River in Enderby has been a cause of some concern recently, the Conservation Officer Service surprisingly reports the river to have the lowest number of non-compliance out of the seven waterways it patrols in the North Okanagan.

The report says the Shuswap River had the lowest rate of non-compliance at 62 per cent, with Swan Lake coming in highest with an 89 per cent rate of non-compliance. Mara Lake came in third at 87 per cent non-compliance, followed by Wood Lake at 81 per cent, and Mabel Lake at 79 per cent. The Cousins bay area of Kalamalka Lake saw a 67 per cent non-compliance rate, and Sugar Lake also had a 67 per cent rate of non-compliance.

The Conservation Officer Service checked 1,239 people and 716 vessels, issuing 77 violation tickets and ordering 51 vessels to shore for "significant safety concerns."

The enforcement campaign is now in its seventh year and is a joint initiative between the Regional District of North Okanagan and the Conservation Officer Service.

While details regarding specific instances are vague, the Conservation Officer Service reports a homemade pontoon boat and a tin boat identified by tubers on the Shuswap River as their "safety boat" were both ordered off the river for having no safety gear.

In another incident, a jet skier was ticketed – and passed a breathalyzer test – for towing two kids on a tube too close to shore at Wood Lake.

Another boater on Wood Lake failed a breathalyzer test, and was arrested for impaired operation of a vessel and had their boat towed to shore. The report says the individual was released into the care of a family member.

The report also says while life jacket compliance was low on the Shuswap Lake at the beginning of summer, the situation improved with more people packing life jackets and whistles towards the end of the summer.

For a full set of the rules whether you're floating in a rubber ring or driving a speed boat go here.

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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