Cold Lake RCMP urge safe boating practices.
“Statistically, in Alberta, boating is a concern; because there’s been a lot of drownings,” Corporal Ryan Howrish with the Cold Lake RCMP Detachment, says they hope to see a safe summer in the Lakeland. Sadly, there has already been incidents in the province, confirms Cpl. Howrish, “in Alberta, this year, there’s been five drownings.”
“The RCMP will be out enforcing and making sure people have the right safety equipment,” the Detachment recently added a new boat to its fleet of patrol vehicles and is expecting to be on the waters of Cold Lake, and surrounding lakes, regularly. Some of the regulations they will be looking for include a competency card and every boat, that is in operation, has to have safety equipment. “As per the size of their vessel. So a kayak will have different requirements than a pontoon boat,” explains Cpl. Howrish. Some safety equipment includes life jackets, fire extinguishers, navigation equipment and flashlights; depending on the size of the vessel.
Safety equipment violations start at $200 per equipment, “if you’re missing a life jacket that’s $200 and every additional life jacket you’re missing is another $100. So it adds up really quickly.”
“We come across violations all the time. The biggest one is liquor and drugs on the water,” says Cpl. Howrish. The public is reminded that operating a water vessel while consuming alcohol is unlawful. Violators will be subject to the same laws and penalties as a road driven motor vehicles.
“In Cold Lake, (because of the temperature) if you fall into the lake, you have five minutes to catch your breath, ten minutes of movement and even with a personal flotation device, within an hour you’d be dead,” Cpl. Howrish explains the odds are against you in the large and brisk body of water. Information on safe boating and safety regulations is available online, along with the boating test.