EDITORIAL – Rising boat traffic on North Thompson River creates risks

South Thompson River gets most of the boating focus but traffic on the North Thompson is growing. (Image: CFJC Today)

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 and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (7560 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Rising boat traffic on North Thompson River creates risks

  1. Tony Brumell // August 2, 2018 at 11:53 AM // Reply

    Kind of like killing a gnat with a sledge hammer ,don’t you think ???Education at all levels is better than force any day. A course or two in boat safety hosted and sponsored by the city and SAR might go a long way to teach knowledge and respect for the properties and inherrant dangers of fast moving water.Move these self help safety courses into the schools as well along with field type demonstrations .Youth can and will learn if the dangers are clear and well presented.

  2. Common sense and courtesy? It is quite uncommon these days to find them both.
    Heavy fines and removal of privilege for offending parties would be welcome in my opinion.

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