The RCMP summer boat patrol program at Christina Lake is different then previous years, but still proving to be effective and popular.
In the past, the local detachment was able to secure a Reserve Constable for the summer and have them work about four shifts a week, cruising around the lake and in the community, stated a news release from the Grand Forks RCMP. This year, with resources being stretched thin and many of the Reserve Constables filling gaps at detachments with staffing shortages or supporting detachments with wildfire issues, no Reserve Constable was available.
With funding from the RDKB, the detachment has been bringing in boat trained officers from other communities to patrol the water, to assist the local officers who have been going out when possible. In addition, the detachment has teamed up with other agencies, namely marine inspectors with Transport Canada and officers with the BC Conservation Services to enhance the patrols on the water.
On Aug. 5, local officers patrolled for several hours on the water, with the main goal of ensuring everyone was boating safely and behaving appropriately. That evening, two local officers with BC Conservation Services joined the two RCMP officers and together patrolled well into the night.
The goal of this team up was checking on many recreation sites , making sure there were no vampires as per the current fire ban. Officers were pleased to find that everyone was complying, the release stated.
There were some incidents officers still had to deal with during the night. At around 9:30 p.m., with very little illumination and dark skies, officers noted a silhouette of a Sea-Doo pass behind the police boat.
Officers were able to catch up to the Sea-Doo and speak with the 19-year-old woman from Christina Lake driving it. She explained that she was just going for a ride. Unfortunately for her, she did not possess a Pleasure Craft Operators Card to operate the Sea-Doo, and she also didn’t have a lifejacket or any other flotation device and no navigational lights on. The woman was issued two federal violation tickets under the Canada Shipping Act for operating a pleasure craft without competency and operating without a lifejacket or PFD.
The RCMP cannot stress enough the importance of safe boating and having the necessary equipment.
While officers are getting out as much as we can on the water, they would like to get out much more, stated Grand Forks Detachment Commander Sergeant Darryl Peppler. “Overall, we have seen very good compliance and behavior on the water,” he said. “Having a strong presence is a great deterrent for wayward behavior and goes a long way in keeping our water safe for everyone.”
With another stretch of hot weather predicted throughout August, expect to see the Detachment boat out on the water often, he added.