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RDCO reminder to boaters: Slow down near shores, reduce wakes during spring runoff

A view of Okanagan Lake and Kelowna, in the distance. Global News

With the start of summer less than two weeks away, lakes throughout the Okanagan will soon see a noticeable increase in boaters.

With that in mind, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) issued a reminder this week, asking mariners to slow down if they plan on boating near the lakeshore.

Read more: Atmospheric river hits B.C., prompting more flooding concerns

At the beginning of June, the Okanagan snowpack level was at 153 per cent of normal. And with spring melt underway, lake levels are continuing to rise, leading to concerns of high waves from boats.

“We know that as we move into more seasonal weather conditions, more people will be out enjoying activities on our lakes,” said Sandra Follack, regional emergency program coordinator for the Central Okanagan.

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“Over the next several weeks while lake levels are high, we’d appreciate it if boaters and personal watercraft users would keep their speed down when approaching or travelling near shorelines. Reducing wake activity will help prevent shoreline erosion.

“Also, when out on the water, please watch for potentially damaging floating debris that is carried into area lakes from faster flowing tributaries.”

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The RDCO added that with creeks flowing faster and water levels now fluctuating, those living near bodies of water should have an emergency plan in place, plus tools and equipment ready to protect their properties from possible flooding damage.

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People are also being asked to stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion throughout freshet season.

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