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RCMP’s Christina Lake summer boat on patrol

RCMP say their Christina Lake boat has been out and about this summer, and while most people have been boating safely and behaving appropriately, there have been some exceptions.

On Aug. 5, officers patrolled for several hours on the water. That evening, two officers with the BC Conservation Service joined two police officers well into the night to check on many rec sites and ensure there were no campfires, as per the current fire ban. They say they were pleased to find everyone complying.

However, around 9:30 p.m., once it was dark, they spotted a silhouette of a Sea-Doo pass behind the police boat. They caught up with it and spoke to the operator, a 19-year-old Christina Lake woman who said she was just going for a ride.

However, she didn’t have a pleasure craft operators card, a lifejacket, or any other floatation device, nor any lights. The woman was issued two tickets under the Canada Shipping Act for operating a pleasure craft without competency and operating without a lifejacket or PFD.

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“The RCMP cannot stress enough the importance of safe boating and having the necessary equipment,” Grand Forks detachment commander Sgt. Darryl Peppler said in a news release.

“While we are getting out as much as we can on the water, we would like to get out much more, but overall, we have seen very good compliance and behavior on the water. Having a strong presence is a great deterrent for wayward behavior and goes a long way in keeping our water safe for everyone.”

Peppler said the boat patrol program is proving effective and popular although it’s operating under a different model than before.

In the past, the local detachment has hired a reserve constable for the summer and had them work about four shifts a week, cruising around the lake and in the community.

This year, with resources stretched thin and many reserve constables filling gaps at detachments with staffing shortages or supporting detachments with wildfire issues, no reserve constable was available.

With funding from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the detachment has been bringing in boat-trained officers from other communities to patrol the water, to help local officers who have been going out when possible.

In addition, the detachment has teamed up with other agencies, including marine inspectors with Transport Canada and the BC Conservation Service to enhance the patrols on the water.

With another stretch of hot weather coming up, police say you can expect to see the detachment boat out on the water often.

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