Fire department wants to update rescue boat

The Penticton Fire Department is stepping up its campaign to replace its aging rescue boat

The Penticton fire department is trying to raise $50

The Penticton Fire Department is stepping up its campaign to replace its ageing rescue boat, and reaching out to the public with a fundraising campaign.

The City of Penticton earmarked $150,000 for the new boat, but Fire Chief Larry Watkinson said the department still needs the community’s help to raise another $50,000 to get the boat he said is needed for rescue work on Okanagan Lake.

“It’s a busy lake that can see severe conditions and we need a vessel that is equipped for a wide variety of emergencies and can respond quickly,” said Watkinson.

Last summer, the department purchased a pair of personal watercraft for use on Skaha Lake, enhancing response times and safety on the smaller, calmer of our two lakes.

Read more: Marine rescue gets a big jump

The watercraft, though, are not suited for rescue work in the heavier chop on Okanagan Lake, and the 27-year-old Zodiac the department has been using has sustained significant damage, including a hull separation.

The Zodiac won’t be suitable for Okanagan Lake this summer, according to a press release from Watkinson.

“Recreational water activities are a huge part of our lifestyle and people expect that in the event of an emergency when they need help on the water fast, heIp will be available,” said Watkinson.

Read more: Rescue boat might not be available

There is some urgency to this fundraising drive. The new boat would have to be ordered by early February to be on the water for this summer.

The new rescue boat would operate year-round and serve the southern end of the lake from its mooring at the Penticton Yacht Club marina. The desired boat is 24-footer with an aluminium hull and twin jet engines to deal with the extreme conditions of Okanagan Lake, making it significantly safer for all those on the water including boaters, swimmers and paddlers.

The fire department is looking for donations of any size, large or small for their Raise the Anchor campaign. Sponsorship opportunities include branding on the vessel, available for donations of $5,000.

If you would like to help out with a donation or would like to learn more about the need for the boat or the safety benefits it would bring, contact Watkinson directly at 250-490-2309 or via email at:

Related: Rescue boat funding denied by RDOS

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