SWOA urges all boat owners to be respectful of others.
Summer is here and with it comes conflict between lake users. We have a big lake and there’s lots of room for all kinds of boats and users. My personal philosophy is if it floats, I like it. If anyone on the lake gets a submarine I’ll adjust my philosophy to include boats that sink on purpose!
As usual I have been getting calls about fast boats; too loud, too fast, and too scary. Last year I was at a local government board meeting and heard from both Transport Canada and the RCMP. Transport Canada’s position was they would only impose speed limits under two conditions. It has to be the last possible option after everything else has been tried like outreach, education, etc. The second condition is that there is a plan for how it will be enforced. The RCMP’s position is they don’t have a boat fast enough to catch anyone going 180 MPH. Even their Jet Ranger helicopter isn’t fast enough and if they put floats on it, it would slow it down even more.
So fast boats are here to stay. I personally love the sound of two tuned, big horsepower racing engines for the 4 seconds it takes to go past my place but I respect that not everyone shares my opinion. In fact, ½ of my own household doesn’t like them. We have one in our bay and the owner is quite respectful to neighbours. He idles out well into the lake, turns his boat parallel to the shore, and only then hammers the power on. Most of the traffic is out on Seymour and Anstey Arms where there are a lot less boats but owners from all over the lake have to get there somehow.
There are concerns about safety but these guys are generally good drivers. I seem to see more DC Boats from San Diego than any other brand. The manufacturer won’t let a new owner take possession of a boat until they have taken a high-speed driving course. Some of the owners also do annual refresher courses and bring the instructor up to the Shuswap. My suggestion to the fast boat owners is to self-police behavior to be as respectful as possible and hopefully keep on boating for years to come.
We are very fortunate to have an established buoy line on most of the developed foreshore. It allows a safe haven for swimmers, Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. A swimmer can be seriously hurt by a personal watercraft just as easily as a fast boat. Stay inside the buoy line and stay safe. If you want to do a marathon swim across the lake, take a spotter boat.
If you are boating within the buoy line leaving or coming in to dock, go dead slow and at right angles to the beach to avoid conflict. The days of water skiing off the dock are over for most of our developed foreshore. If you are doing a slow real estate tour just outside the buoy line, it’s always best to control your wake so you don’t cause discomfort to others.
One of the popular things to do is go out into the middle of the lake and float. It’s always cooler than on the shore and it’s a great place to swim. If you’re out tubing, skiing, wakeboarding, or surfing give a little clearance to floating boats. There might be people in the water and getting tossed around by big wakes can be unpleasant.
I think we have the best lake in all of BC and there is room for all users to enjoy themselves. All forms of water based recreation are important to our local economy and it’s also the main reason people visit the Shuswap. Let’s all stay safe, have fun, and be respectful of others.
Article submitted by: Dave Cunliffe
President, North Shuswap Chamber of Commerce
SWOA is not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with the article, but it's timely as fast boats are becoming a hot issue.