The Okanagan Quality Life Society has extended the shutdown of its popular Heaven Can Wait boating program through 2021 due to COVID-19. (Morning Star - file photo)

The Okanagan Quality Life Society has extended the shutdown of its popular Heaven Can Wait boating program through 2021 due to COVID-19. (Morning Star - file photo)

Vernon Heaven Can Wait boating program still on dry land

Okanagan Quality Life Society announces extension of shutdown to program through 2021 due to pandemic

COVID has once again moored a popular boating activity in the North Okanagan.

The Okanagan Quality Life Society has announced for a second straight year they will not operate its highly popular Heaven Can Wait program, which provides persons with disabilities, seniors in care centres and members of seniors centres in Greater Vernon and the North Okanagan the chance to enjoy therapeutic outings on Okanagan Lake.

“We have made the very difficult decision to extend the suspension of the operations of our cherished Heaven Can Wait program,” said society president Bob Rinaldi. “We will remain closed for the 2021 season. The health and safety of our clients and our captains is our highest priority.”

The society provides one- to two-hour pontoon boat trips on the Vernon arm of Okanagan Lake. From June 1 to Sept. 30 the program runs pre-scheduled trips, Monday through Friday, with weekend trips on an as-needed basis to accommodate special requests like Father’s Day outings, birthdays, and other special events.

The Heaven Can Wait program operates under the regulations and approval of Transport Canada, and the program’s 45 volunteer captains are licensed, trained and have standard first aid.

“The safety and comfort of our special passengers have been our priority for the 28 years of operation, and there has never been an emergency situation or accident,” said the society on its website.

The society hopes to restart the program in 2022.

READ MORE: WATCH: Vernon society sends seniors, shut-ins on boat excursions

READ MORE: Heaven Can Wait sails again

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