The boat patrol program carried out by the Conservation Officer service in the North Okanagan will expand this year.
Herman Halvorson, newly re-elected board chair for the Electoral Area Advisory Committee, said Coldstream is on board for 2018 and Enderby has also expressed an interest to participate.
He said the program currently costs about $25,000 supported by discretionary funding from each electoral area.
Halvorson said the COs primarily do vessel and tube floater inspections along the Shuswap River from Cook Creek down to Mara Lake. Other areas checked included Sugar Lake, Swan Lake, Kalamalka Lake and Mabel Lake.
“The Shuswap River is well used by boaters and tubers during the summer, particularly in the south end where I live. There can be as many as 3,000 people a day on the river,” Halvorson said.
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This past summer, the COs checked 764 vessels and 1,549 people, issuing 101 charges and time to produce tickets, and 748 warnings.
Beyond boater safety and fishing license regulations being followed, an unexpected twist for many tubers last summer was the requirement to be equipped with a lifejacket along with a warning whistle.
“Many tubers were not aware of that but it is a Transport Canada regulation,” he said.
Halvorson applauded the efforts of COs to ensure safety standards are followed for those using the river, which can range from very shallow to 30 feet deep.
“It gets very busy in the summer and everyone looks to take the opportunity to cool off. But it’s a good situation to have (conservation officers) have a presence out there and to promote safety.”