Lake & Boating Safety

Kelowna and its surrounding communities are home to numerous lakes, including Okanagan Lake, which is the largest in the area at 135 km long and ranging from 3.2 to 6.4 km wide, depending on location. While the lakes in the Okanagan offer numerous opportunities for fun, including swimming, paddleboarding, and boating, it is important to keep safety in mind when enjoying time in or on the water.

General Water Safety

  • As with other outdoor adventures, it’s important to create a trip plan and inform others of the plan in case any emergencies arise. 
  • Gathering essentials for your day on the beach or on the water, like lifejackets, sunscreen, and drinking water, is important, too.  
  • Water incidents can happen quickly, so it is always advisable to put on your lifejacket while you’re on dry land. 
  • Stay aware of your surroundings, pay attention to weather changes, and be aware of the risks when in cold water

Click here for more information on general water safety. 

Boating Safety

Whether you’re operating the boat or along for the ride, it’s important to keep safety top of mind. Here are the five key steps to safer boating, as outlined by Boating BC:

  • Wear your lifejacket: Legally, there must be a properly sized, Canadian-approved personal floatation device on board for each passenger. Again, it is easier to wear your lifejacket for the duration of the trip rather than to try and put it on in an emergency.
  • Don’t boat impaired: Being impaired, due to alcohol or drugs, while boating is not only illegal but can create unsafe situations for you and those around you. 
  • Take a boating course: In addition to having a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, it is recommended that those operating a boat take additional boating courses.
  • Be prepared: Make sure you have enough fuel for your trip, that all required safety gear is onboard, that you’re prepared for the weather, and that you’ve shared your trip plan with someone. 
  • Beware of cold-water risks: Understand the risks cold water poses, as they can be life threatening.

Most of these tips also apply for other motorized vessels, like seadoos, as well as for non-motorized activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or canoeing.

Find more information on boating safety:

You can also download the free, Discover Boating safe boating app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Invasive Species

Keeping our lakes free of invasive species, like zebra and quagga mussels, is not only important but easy if everyone does their part by following these three steps, as outlined by Don’t Move a Mussel:

  1. Clean everything (plants, mud, animals) off your boat and equipment, using a power washing station if available.
  2. Drain (on dry land) all items that can hold water.
  3. Dry all items completely before launching your watercraft into another body of water.

Learn more about preventing the spread of invasive species:


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