Moving into the latter part of May, Kelowna is meeting peak runoff season which presents several problems and precautionary measures that boaters should be aware of when navigating the Okanagan lake.
Boaters are urged to be cautious of items in the water. A substantial amount of floating debris has made its way downstream and into Okanagan lake becoming hazardous to unsuspecting boaters.
Tony Essler, a Kelowna resident, stumbled upon an approximately 25-foot log south of the William R. Bennett bridge.
Essler dragged the submerged scrap back to the boat launch but warned boaters to be careful when enjoying the waters of the Okanagan, noting that it could “have done some serious damage,” if a boat were to ride over it.
All lakes surrounding Kelowna have exceeded full pool, Okanagan Lake in specific has increased by three centimetres in the past 24 hours totalling 342.567 metres - 3.42 inches over the deemed full pool target, but 2.24 feet below last year’s flood levels of 343.251 metres.
Due to the increasing flood risks, it is recommended that boaters distance themselves at least 300 metres of the shoreline when travelling at speeds over 10 km/h to refrain from disturbing or damaging flood prevention measures and vulnerable shorelines.
Additionally, during this time it is suggested that boaters keep to low-wake activities and remain in the centre of the lake.
Waterfront owners should also take proactive measures by securing their docks and ensuring boat anchor lines are long enough to withstand rising lake levels.
For more tips on how to stay safe on the water and aid your neighbours in keeping their property safe, check below.
Tips for boaters:
Ideally, wake height should remain below 30 cm (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 of the lake 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. Travel under 10 km/h within 300 metres of the shoreline.
When operating at no-wake speed, trim the drive or outboard to allow the boat to proceed with the smallest wake possible.
Watch for debris and submerged logs.
Sun worshippers are encouraged to try wake-free options to enjoy Central Okanagan lakes or the many recreation and leisure activities available here. Stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and canoes are perfect for exploring the lakes and beaches, especially with the recent opening of the Kelowna Paddle Trail. Hundreds of parks and trails offer great options for picnics or exploring nature.