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With weather heating up, Boating BC issues safety reminder – Okanagan

One sure sign of spring in B.C.’s Interior: Boats being towed along area roadways en route to local lakes.

With hot weather about to bake the Okanagan this weekend, Boating BC is reminding residents to be boat safe ahead of national safe boating week later this month, May 20-26.

“The upcoming May long weekend signals the start of the recreational boating season,” the association said in a press release.

Click to play video: 'Boaters rescued by VSAR on Okanagan Lake'

Boaters rescued by VSAR on Okanagan Lake

“Whether you are boating or waterskiing on Okanagan Lake, houseboating on Shuswap Lake, or fishing in Christina Lake or Allison Lake, Boating BC Association is encouraging those who plan to participate in water-related activities to prepare for a safe and memorable experience.”

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Last year, 83 people died in recreational boating incidents across Canada, with 15 of those occurring in the Pacific region.

“British Columbia is home to some of the greatest waterways in the world, but they also possess inherent dangers if caution and common sense are not exercised,” said Boating BC executive director Bruce Hayne.

“During the pandemic, recreational boating became an increasingly popular pastime for families. Now, as we have emerged from COVID, there are many new boaters who may not be aware of safety guidelines, along with those with some level of experience who may require a refresher.”

Click to play video: 'Two men and dog rescued near Texada Island, B.C.'

Two men and dog rescued near Texada Island, B.C.

Hayne said what makes boating death statistics “both incredibly sad and frustrating is the fact that the vast majority are preventable.

“That is why we are appealing for people to get out and enjoy themselves on the water, but also be attentive.”

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The association says provincial waterways are home to big, small and commercial vessels, and that accidents can be avoided when recreational boaters learn and adhere to the rules of the waterway.

“Whatever your boating preference or level of experience may be this summer, an informed and confident boater is a safe and happy boater,” said the association. “And that means anything that floats: kayaks to catamarans, powerboats, sailboats, or stand-up paddleboards.”

For more information about boating and boating safety, including available courses, visit Boating BC’s website.

Click to play video: 'Ask an Expert: boat safety'

Ask an Expert: boat safety

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