Conservation officers from the BC Ministry of Environment’s Central and North Island zones teamed up with local RCMP on the Canada Day weekend to spot and stop hazardous boating behaviour.
A squad assigned to patrol both Comox Lake and Campbell Lake identified numerous violations to Canada’s safe boating regulations.
The Conservation Officer Service (COS) patrol squad inspected 21 pleasure crafts at Comox Lake and Campbell Lake July 1, of which “only five were fully compliant with safe boating regulations,” says 19-year veteran Gord Gudbranson. “RCMP officers issued 14 enforcement actions” against offending boaters, reports Gudbranson.
Action was also taken against seven of the 12 anglers COs and RCMP encountered.
The majority of illegal boaters were penalized for operating their crafts without adequate licensing or safety equipment, although the squad also made one drug seizure. Gudbranson says many boaters are running their crafts “without the prescribed visual signals on board,” and lack “adequate firefighting equipment, hull serial numbers, Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and lifejackets.” A significant portion of the offenders either “lack the required operators’ certification or fail to carry proof of competency.”
Patrols will continue as part of an ongoing effort “to promote public safety,” explains Gudbranson, who hopes an increased COs and RCMP presence during will encourage lake-goers to observe safe boating practices during the summer months.
Gudbranson recommends boaters familiarize themselves with Canada’s safe boating regulations in order to both enhance personal safety and avoid legal penalties.