Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Many hands helped keep threats at bay

SS Sicamous had plenty of friends as water levels rose

Many hands helped keep threats at bay

It has been exciting times aboard the S. S. Sicamous.

The record breaking Okanagan Lake water levels had the ship floating approximately 60 centimetres above it’s normal beached position. Having to provide staff and volunteers working aboard the ship with anti-motion sickness medication was just one of the numerous problems that had to be dealt with as the water levels rose and the ship was once again free and floating.

As well, the S.S. Naramata beached 15 years ago due to hull corrosion, was once again taking on water. The rising water levels also began to threaten the newly restored S.S. Okanagan stern salon along with the dredge shed, used as a workshop for our ongoing restoration work.

The rising water required quick action in many areas so that we could continue to remain open to the public as well as protection for the heritage structures located within the Marine Heritage Park. These actions included:

· Shutting down heating systems and removing gas meter

· Installation of a temporary coffer dam and hundreds of sandbags

· Shutting down main electrical service and installing a temporary service

· Modifications to fire suppression system to keep it operational

· Installing additional mooring lines to stabilize the ship

· Construction and installation of a boardwalk to ensure emergency exiting was maintained

· Construction of additional stairs, bridges and walkways to compensate for the rise of ship

· Installation of two piles at the bow to ensure the boat re-settles into it’s original position. Two more will be added to the stern at a later date

· Installation of truckloads of sand under the ship to raise it and hopefully avoid future problems

· 24-hour security to keep the boat and people safe

None of these would have been possible without the assistance of many. The board of directors of the S.S. Sicamous Marine Heritage Society would like to thank the City of Penticton’s public works department, Mitch Moroziak and staff, engineering division, Ian Chapman, facilities division Chris Schmidt and staff. Penticton Fire Department Chief Larry Watkinson and especially the firefighters from Hall No. 2 who spent the day in hip waders blowing sand under the ship. The truck drivers from Grizzly and Rital for their efforts in getting the sand where it was needed under the ship. Our staff members Don, Jessie and Marilyn who faced the challenges on a daily basis.

Finally, to Adolf Steffen and Matt Verboeket, two of our board members who put in countless hours over the last six weeks ensuring the boat was always safe and operational.

Jim Cooper, president

Brett Cornell. treasurer

S. S. Sicamous Marine Heritage Society