A long weekend fishing trip ended in tragedy, when a 43-year-old Lower Mainland man died after his fishing boat capsized on Headwaters Lake.
He was among a group of three who were fishing the lake approximately 30 kilometres west of Peachland, May 18.
When the trio decided to stand up just after 5 p.m., the boat capsized and threw them all into the cold water, said Cpl. Barbara Holley of the West Kelowna RCMP
“There were life jackets in the boat at the time, but the occupants were not wearing them,” said Holley. “Two males swam to shore and the third male failed to reach shore.”
It’s unclear what caused the Lower Mainland man to drown, but the matter is still under investigation by the Coroner Service of BC.
It’s the second drowning on a Central Okanagan lake this year, but according to Vital Statistics, there are at least 60 deaths each year in B.C. due to drowning and water-transport related incidents and submersions.
The bulk of those incidents occur after May long weekend, the unofficial start of boating season on Canadian coastlines and lakes.
It’s a situation that keeps police and water transportation officers on their toes.
“Accidents can happen very quickly,” said Chris Marrie, boating safety officer with Transport Canada, when he was in Kelowna last year to speak about boater safety in the lead up to May long weekend.
“This time of year the water’s very cold and if anybody finds themselves in the water, they have very little leeway to get back into the boat, unless they’re actually wearing a PFD.”
He says that alcohol accounts for “at least 40-50 per cent” of boating fatalities and urged caution with alcohol, noting that the sun and movement of the boat can heighten the effects of liquor.
For safe boating information, check out the websites www.boatingsafety.gc.ca