First responders rescued two adults and two children from a flipped sailboat on Okanagan Lake near Naramata, Wednesday afternoon.
At 2:23 p.m. Naramata Fire Rescue, and the Penticton Fire Department, were called out to assist in the marine rescue.
The four occupants, who could be seen from shore by first responders, were on top of the flipped boat with life jackets on. They were approximately 300 meters out from the Naramata boat launch.
The Naramata rescue team was able to transfer all occupants from the boat to the shore, and as of 3:22 p.m. were in the process of towing the boat to shore.
Naramata Fire Rescue confirmed there were no injuries as a result of the incident; they were cold, but uninjured.
The four were a family; a mother, father, and two young children, approximately three and five years old.
Naramata Fire Rescue chief Tony Trovao explained that a gust of high winds likely caused the sailboat to get away from the family.
“Young ones, they can’t handle water that cold for too long,” said Naramata Fire Rescue chief, Tony Trovao. “Any longer and it probably would have been a little more detrimental.”
Trovao explained the parents left the kids on the hull, away from the water, as much as they could. However, when rescued, the parents were quite cold.
“I think mom and dad were pretty cold,” he said.
Ambulance did not take the family into town.
“It’s always good when you can show up on scene and you’ve got four alive people bobbing in the water, and you can give them a hand out of the elements, it’s always a good thing,” added Trovao.
“It’s good that it was that close, and it’s good we got on the water as quick as we did. That’s the two key players when it comes to being on the water; the quicker they’re off the water, the better.”
Luckily, Trovao explained, the water on Lake Okanagan has risen. Up until three weeks ago, Naramata Fire Rescue’s marine rescue team couldn’t launch into the lake due to low water.
The station is looking into acquiring a boathouse on the lake in order to expedite marine rescues.