Boaters be safe

A no wake, low-wake guideline for respectful boating in Kelowna has been created to raise awareness

While lake levels in the Okanagan slowly decline, rising temperatures are attracting water sports enthusiasts.

As boaters make plans to venture out on the lake, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says it’s important to remember that lake levels remain the highest seen in decades and some planning is necessary before heading out on the water.

A no-wake, low-wake guideline for respectful boating in the Okanagan has been created to raise awareness of boating practices during high water levels to minimize the erosion of vulnerable shoreline and damage of property in Kalamalka, Okanagan, Duck and Wood lakes.

With some area lake levels nearly 60 centimetres over full pool, below are some tips for boaters to ensure their safety and minimize further damage to the foreshore.

Know before you go. Find out which boat launches and fueling stations are open in the area. Most boat launches have been closed for safety reasons.

View the 2017 Freshet Boating Wake Map No Wake to plan routes, familiarize where vulnerable shorelines are located and follow the wake zone guidelines.

Low wake zones mean no hydroplaning… for now. It takes some effort to get the vessel off the water and results in damaging waves. Wake height should be no more than 30 cm (1 foot).

Large and heavier boats create damaging waves even at low speeds. Extra caution is needed when cruising the lake. Keep in the centre whenever possible.

Small and light boats should remain 300 metres from the shoreline whenever possible or travel in the centre of the lake when approaching vulnerable shorelines. Go slow when travelling within 300 metres of the shoreline.

When operating at no-wake speed, trim the drive or outboard to allow the boat to proceed with smallest wake possible.

Watch for debris and submerged docks.

Once lake levels reach a more reasonable levels, regular boating activities can resume.

“Sun worshippers are encouraged to try wake-free options to enjoy Central Okanagan lakes or the many recreation and leisure activities. Stand Up Paddleboards, kayaks and canoes are perfect for exploring the lakes and a number of beaches are open throughout the region. Hundreds of parks and trails offer great options for picnics or exploring nature,” says COEO.

For more information, click here, or call the information line at 250-469-8490.