An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IN THE WAKE OF the terrible collision between two personal watercraft and the search for the missing operator of one of them, a lot of warnings and advice are being issued right now about safety on the water.
Boaters are being told to make sure they have life jackets, are alert at all times, keep a safe distance from other watercraft, don’t drink while on the water and so on.
Good advice and the kind of thing boaters are supposed to know before they ever take control of a boat.
Here’s another concern. River boating in Kamloops is typically associated with the South Thompson River but traffic on the North Thompson is increasing dramatically.
I know because I live on that river and I’ve watched over the years as more and more boaters race up and down the North Thompson for a change of scenery and adventure.
Used to be that recreational boaters usually didn’t venture north of the Heffley rapids but that’s not the case anymore.
The North Thompson is untamed compared to the sedate South Thompson. It’s faster and there are no buoys to help direct boaters, who don’t know the shallow side from the channel side and blithely skim over barely submerged sandbars.
On one occasion I had to call authorities to help a couple of boaters who got hung up on a sandbar late at night. After several hours of hard work, they were finally able to get unstuck and it all ended well.
Motor boats aren’t the only ones discovering the North Thompson. Kayakers and canoeists are enjoying the superior scenery of the North River, too.
It all adds up to an accident waiting to happen. And it would help if people with high-powered motors would take it easy along inhabited shorelines and avoid the kind of riverbank erosion that’s occurred on the South Thompson.
The North Thompson doesn’t need a lot of enforcement and restrictions, yet. Just common sense and courtesy.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at email@example.com.