Cst. Mike Homeniuk, Taber/Vauxhall RCMP
As the warm weather continues, recreational boat users will be enjoying more and more time on lakes throughout the province. With this increased number of users the potential for boating related problems also increases for the members of the many RCMP detachments around the province.
The Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment and members of the Bow Island RCMP detachment have joined forces to ensure that everyone that goes boating this summer is doing so in a safe manner for everyone else on Chin Lake and 40 Mile Lake.
Since the middle of May, RCMP members have been conducting random boat patrols and both Chin Lake and 40 Mile Park. Patrols proved to be highly successful as a large number of boats were stopped and inspected. Members on patrol were checking boats to ensure that each boat had a sober operator, that no alcohol was being consumed on board and that boats were equipped with all of the mandatory safety equipment that is required by the Small Vessel Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act.
To date 13 boats have been checked and a number of violations were noted. The RCMP members issued violation notices, which are “warning” tickets to those found in violation of the Act. A total of 12 different violations were observed and to put this in perspective the total monetary value of all deficiencies for the two lakes combined would have been $2500.
One very important area that RCMP members will be focusing on is Impaired Boat Operators. The Criminal Code of Canada views operating a vessel impaired the exact same way that it does operating a Motor Vehicle while impaired. Person’s found operating a vessel impaired will be arrested and charged the same as if they were driving a car down the highway.
The following is a list of required safety equipment for vessels and their respective fine amounts:
- Every vessel over 9.9hp must be Licence/Registered with Transport Canada. There is no cost to register a vessel and you can visit www.boatingsafely.gc.ca. FINE: $250
- You must have 1 lifejacket on board for each person on the vessel. FINE: $300 plus $100 for every missing lifejacket.
- Navigation Lights must be operable. FINE: $200
- Anchor equipped with chain and rope. FINE: $200
- Fully charged class ABC fire extinguisher. FINE: $300
- Visual signaling device(Watertight flashlight/flares). FINE: $200
- Buoyant heaving line no less that 15m long. FINE: $200
- Re-boarding device(ladder). FINE: $200
- Functioning Blower (inboard motors only). FINE: $250
- Sound Signaling Device(non-powered, whistle or air horn). FINE: $200
- Manual Propelling Device. FINE: $200
- Bailing Bucket/Manual Bilge Pump(non-powered). FINE:$ 200
Boats that refuse to comply with these safety requirements or that are found to be operated in a careless manner will be removed from the lakes as the RCMP members see fit. If you have any questions or you would like to have your vessel checked/inspected before you head out on the lake, please contact either the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP Detachment at 403-223-4447 or the Bow Island RCMP Detachment at 403-545-2784.
Have a great summer, boat safely, and we look forward to seeing you out on the lake.