Boaters stranded on Okanagan Lake can still be assured that their calls for help will be answered.
The Okanagan Landing Volunteer Firefighters Association turned over its rescue boat to Vernon Search and Rescue during the Vernon Yacht Club boat show Sunday.
“It’s such a valuable resource,” said Tim Sharp, OKLVFA president.
“We want to support the people of the Landing and we talked to Search and Rescue and they have a structure in place to operate the boat.”
OKLVFA used to provide firefighting services in Okanagan Landing but the City of Vernon ended the contract earlier this year.
As a result, the association decided what to do with the boat, which it owns.
“The Landing association has served the community for many years and they have worked with us,” said Pete Wise, Vernon Search and Rescue past-president.
“The goal of both organizations was to always save people’s lives. If we had lost access to that boat, it would have made it difficult for response times.”
The boat, which will be berthed at the Vernon Yacht Club, will be primarily used for helping people in trouble on Okanagan Lake, including those who have had their boats turned over by strong winds.
“We have been busy with the boat every summer,” said Sharp.
Search and Rescue will not be involved in fighting structure fires, but the pump will remain in place to fill fire trucks with water during emergencies.
Besides donating the boat, a further bond is being formed between the two groups.
“Many of the (Landing) members have joined with Search and Rerscue to provide rapid response to people stranded on the lake,” said Wise.