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Water warnings for recreational traffic

Authorities advise caution
Andy Rice

With summer well under way, an abundance of boat traffic can be observed in the waters around Powell River. Coming off the heels of a busy patrol marked by several incidents, authorities are reminding boaters to exercise caution while on the water.

One of the first steps toward caution is preparation. Hal Ross, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary number 101 officer in charge, offered several tips for a safe trip. “Listen to the weather and see what it’s going to do,” he said. “On this patrol alone, we had three vessels anchor up out of the wind but during the night the wind shifted and pushed them all on the beach.”

Ross stressed the importance of bringing enough fuel as well, especially on unfamiliar routes. He cited a recent example where a boat coming from Nanaimo made it only two thirds of the way before running out of gas on the west side of Texada Island.

Reading charts carefully is another important piece of advice, especially for larger boats. “We had two vessels at the very same time go up on two different rocks because they weren’t paying attention to charts,” he said.

Coast Guard authorities had an increased presence over the long weekend, along with the RCMP who were out enforcing safety laws. By using common sense and obeying rules, boaters can easily avoid fines and incidents.

“When you’re on deck, put on a life jacket,” said Ross. “Make sure you have flares, sound signaling devices and all the regular things outlined in the boating safety guide that you can pick up at any sporting goods store.”