UPDATE: June 6, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has a new video message today urging boaters to enjoy wake-free options on local lakes and to be cautious due to the high water and floating debris and submerged infrastructure.
Stand up paddle boarding and kayaking are both great "wake free" options for those wanting to still get out on the lake this weekend.
UPDATE: May 31, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.
Rising water levels have forced the closure of the Water Street boat launch.
Crews are currently sandbagging across the boat launch to keep the lake water away from two large pumps operating there to lower the groundwater level.
The Cook Street boat launch remains open, while the Sutherland Bay boat launch was closed weeks ago due to the high water level.
UPDATE: May 30, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
The City of West Kelowna is reminding the public that the two boat launches in the community are closed for recreational users until further notice with only supervised access allowed in relation to flood response or essential operations.
Due to extraordinarily high Okanagan Lake levels and the damage that watercraft wakes can cause to vulnerable properties and infrastructure, the Gellatly Boat Launch and Casa Loma Boat Launch have been closed, as well as a number of West Kelowna waterfront parks.
Users who require access to or from Okanagan Lake can contact the City’s Parks Department at 778-797-8849 to request supervised access.
The public is asked not to tamper with or move barriers or flood protection installations that have been placed at the Gellatly and Casa Loma Boat Launches. Fines can be issued to anyone who tampers with municipal infrastructure or who accesses a space closed due to public safety.
The boat launch and dock at Fintry Community Park Access #1 at the end of Fintry Delta Road is also closed. Due to high water levels, the launch and dock are no longer accessible.
UPDATE: May 29, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.
Boaters on Okanagan Lake should be aware of log booms being installed around the eastern end of the William R. Bennett Bridge closest to City Park today and to proceed with caution. The log booms will be in place to reduce the threat of erosion around the structure.
People are also asked to not climb on top of bladder dams, gabion cages and sandbags deployed along beaches and creeks.
If you are operating a boat on area lakes, please read this article in full.
UPDATE: May 28, 2017 at 3:13 p.m.
If you simply can't resist the temptation to get out onto the lake make sure you're practicing all the proper safety measures and read the important information below for motorboats regarding areas to avoid. (read all the way down for areas to avoid)
Okanagan Lake levels currently are at record levels, last recording shows 343.07 metres.
While out on the water, in a boat, kayak or stand up board, be aware of floating debris deposited into the lake from the high stream flows.
There are ways to enjoy the water without causing harm to the shorelines and property along the shoreline.
Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are some fun alternatives that still allow you to enjoy all the beauty that the Okanagan has to offer.
UPDATE: May 22, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.
A message from Central Emergency Operations: Boaters across the Central Okanagan deserve credit for helping to reduce potential shoreline erosion by keeping speeds and wakes down throughout the long weekend. And an especially big thank you to those who chose other activities, not going out on area lakes. Boating is still not recommended as lake levels are moving closer to the predicted 343-metre flood mark and with the vast amount of floating and submerged debris and docks.
UPDATE: May 21, 2017 4:00 p.m. - Please don't boat
The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations is asking boaters to stay off area lakes. Lake levels continue to rise and wave action can cause damage to properties along the lake shore. We are expecting to see rapid upper level snowpack melt which will accelerate rising lake levels and cause high stream flows. (click here for the main story).
Boaters choosing to access Okanagan Lake are urged to drive slowly, stay away from the shore and avoid several areas at risk due to high waters and wave action:
The entire downtown waterfront; specifically, Heritage Park to Buchanan
All day use docks and wharfs (closed)
Princeton boat launch (closed)
Green Bay area
Casa Loma area
Pritchard Drive area
Whitworth Road area
Tween Lakes (canal) and entire Oyama isthmus area
Westside Road (RDCO)
Killiney Beach area
The entire waterfront between Poplar Point and Cedar Creek
Boat wakes can have significant impact on vulnerable properties. Boaters are reminded that they can be fined for operating a power-boat over 10 km/h within 30 metres (100 feet) of shore. Boaters who choose to disregard safety notifications may also be fined.
Flooding has deposited significant debris in Okanagan Lake, including large trees, branches, and even submerged docks, making navigation on the lake hazardous.
Original story - May 19, 2017 - Boaters urged to avoid several areas on Okanagan Lake during May long weekend
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations (CORD) is urging boaters to avoid several areas around Okanagan Lake, Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake over the weekend.
"Boating is not recommended this weekend, but boaters choosing to access Okanagan Lake are urged to avoid several areas at risk due to high waters and wave action," read CORD's statement.
"Flooding has deposited significant debris in Okanagan Lake, including large trees and branches, making navigation on the lake hazardous."
The City of West Kelowna is also advising boaters that several boat launches in West Kelowna will be closed over the weekend.
Effective immediately, and until further notice, the boat launches at Gellatly Bay and in Casa Loma have been closed to recreational use.
The City of West Kelowna will reopen the launches when lake levels have subsided and the threat of property damage from boat wakes has abated. Patrol officers will remain available on site to open the Gellatly launch for emergency and commercial uses and for residents who need to get their boats off the lake.
Until further notice, a number of West Kelowna parks will also remain closed due to the flood threat caused by steadily rising lake levels and to ensure the preservation of protective measures that have been installed along the shoreline. Closures are in effect at:
Waterfront portion of the Gellatly Beach access
Jennens Beach Access