Penticton RCMP noticed an improvement over years past as people headed out on the water for August long weekend.
RCMP Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said police checked nearly 100 boats with no incidents of impaired drivers, or even suspicions of impaired drivers.
“There were no impaired boaters found and even a person at the OK Marina said there was a huge difference this year that he saw for this weekend. Often they are having to call in for people drinking and boating,” Wrigglesworth said.
Police took to bikes, ATVs and boats and were joined by bike patrol volunteers as they ramped up their presence for the weekend.
“Generally, the whole dynamic of August long weekend here was pretty family friendly. Lots of families in town,” Wrigglesworth said. “When I was out on the water everyone was safe and respectful, not a lot of complaints from other boaters about that boater kind of thing.”
However, Wrigglesworth said he did see a lot of people who were towing skiers or tubers improperly, a more serious offence than some may realize.
“The one thing that was surprising was people towing skiers or tubers without a spotter. That’s a Criminal Code offence,” Wrigglesworth said, adding that the fine comes with not just a ticket costing upwards of $250, but a court date as well.
Around half of the stand-up paddle boarders out this weekend didn’t have the required safety equipment, which is the same as a boat. A life jacket, a sounding device like a whistle and a 15-metre rope.
The fine can reach up to $230 for operating a watercraft without a life jacket.
“Some rental companies are telling people that life jackets are optional,” Wrigglesworth said. “It’s very important that you have these things with you on a paddle board.”