Respectful boating during high lake levels

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 3:50pm

Central Okanagan, B.C. – While lake levels in the Central Okanagan slowly decline, temperatures in the Okanagan quickly rise attracting water sports enthusiasts and visitors alike.

As boaters make plans to venture out on the lake, it’s important to remember that lake levels remain the highest seen in decades and some planning is necessary before heading out on the water.

A no wake, low wake, a guideline for respectful boating in the Okanagan has been created to raise awareness of boating practices during high water levels to minimize the erosion of vulnerable shoreline and damage of property in Kalamalka, Okanagan, Ellison/Duck and Wood lakes.

With some area lake levels being nearly 60 cm over full pool, below are some tips for boaters to ensure their safety and minimize further damage to the foreshore.

  • Know before you go. Find out which boat launches and fueling stations are open in the area. Most boat launches have been closed for safety reasons.

  • Visit cordmergency.ca/map to view the 2017 Freshet Boating Wake Map No Wake to plan routes, familiarize where vulnerable shorelines are located and follow the wake zone guidelines.

  • Low wake zones mean no hydroplaning… for now. It takes some effort to get the vessel off the water and results in damaging waves. Wake height should be no more than 30 centimetres (1 foot).

  • Large and heavier boats create damaging waves even at low speeds. Extra caution is needed when cruising the lake. Keep in the centre whenever possible.

  • Small and light boats should remain 300 metres from the shoreline whenever possible or travel in the centre of the lake when approaching vulnerable shorelines. Go “dead slow” when travelling within 300 metres of the shoreline.

  • When operating at no-wake speed, trim the drive or outboard to allow the boat to proceed with smallest wake possible.

  • Watch for debris and submerged docks.

Once lake levels reach a more reasonable levels, regular boating activities can resume.

Sun worshippers are encouraged to try wake-free options to enjoy Central Okanagan lakes or the many recreation and leisure activities. Stand Up Paddleboards, kayaks and canoes are perfect for exploring the lakes and a number of beaches are open throughout the region. Hundreds of parks and trails offer great options for picnics or exploring nature.

For more information, visit www.cordemergency.ca, sign up for e-updates or call the information line at 250-469-8490.

For municipal information such as boat launch, park and beach closures, and water quality advisories, visit their websites:

Keep informed by signing up for e-updates at www.cordemergency.ca, or call the information line at 250-469-8490.