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North Vancouver RCMP remind boaters of rules on the water during education blitz

'Project Wave' event demonstrated a need for improvement among recreational boaters in North Van, according to police
RCMP boat
North Vancouver RCMP conducted "Project Wave" to remind local boaters about rules and regulations on the water on Aug. 15, 2021.

Some North Shore boaters looking to hit the high seas received low marks from police during an educational exercise last month.

Fifteen of 61 boaters checked by North Vancouver RCMP officers at the Whey-ah-Wichen (Cates Park) boat launch were turned away because of equipment or licensing infractions on Sunday (Aug. 15).

“One boater, who had his children with him, was turned away because he had no life jackets at all,” said Sgt. Peter DeVries, police spokesman, in a news release.  

The ocean-bound campaign was conducted in concert with ICBC to remind boaters to abide by Transport Canada rules and guidelines, and increase knowledge of boating safety.

Project Wave demonstrated a general need for improvement among recreational boaters in North Van, according to police.

All boaters are required to have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card in order to operate a powered watercraft. The law applies to all boaters and applies to a boat with any size motor, and many vehicles at the boat launch weren’t in possession of such a license, according to police.

In addition to the boat launch check, the detachment’s marine patrol vessel spent the day patrolling the waters around the park.

A number of boaters were stopped for travelling too fast for the conditions, though no impaired boaters were discovered during the event.

“Officers stopped and checked 20 additional boats,” said DeVries. “We want people to know that every time we stop someone on the water, we’re going to assess whether there is alcohol on board and if the operator has been drinking.”

While there are generally no posted speed limits on the water, there are rules governing boating speeds, with operators asked to observe the unposted speed limit of 10 km/h within 30 metres of the shore.

“The waters around Whey-ah-Wichen are often full of swimmers, stand-up paddleboards, and boaters in small craft such as canoes and dinghies,” said DeVries. “Boaters simply have to be aware, careful, and travel slowly through these high-use areas.”