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  • Chestermere Municipal Enforcement and RCMP begin regular lake patrols

    Vessels with the proper safety equipment will receive a vessel compliance decal

    Chestermere Municipal Enforcement and RCMP

    The Chestermere Municipal Enforcement and Chestermere Fire Department is reminding lake users to ensure they are properly prepared with all of the necessary safety equipment needed to operate a vessel on the lake.

    This year, Chestermere Municipal Enforcement have joined the Chestermere RCMP for enhanced boat patrols to ensure lake users are in compliance, and safely operating their vessels.

    “Typically, we do a combination of getting out on the lake with fire services when it comes to training. Commonly fire is out doing what they need to do, and the peace officers are out with RCMP members,” said Chestermere Municipal Enforcement Officer Shawn Press.

    “We are maintaining our training, getting out there on the lake and educating the public as far as lake safety,” said Chestermere Senior Firefighter, Paul McClure.

    Last year’s regular lake patrols resulted in common offences including vessel operators missing necessary safety equipment.

    “A lot of people, whether it’s their boat or not, don’t get their safety equipment,” Press said.

    “It’s very common for us to come up to a vessel and there’s not enough life jackets for the amount of people, or children aren’t wearing life jackets, they don’t have fire extinguishers, or the common safety things that are required to operate a vessel on the lake,” he said.

    When finding a vessel without all of the required safety equipment, Chestermere Municipal Enforcement will go through a compliance check list with the vessel operator.

    “We run into that quite a bit. That happens because there isn’t a lot of restrictions for who can necessarily operate a vessel,” Press said.

    “We will run into people who are borrowing a vessel from a family member of a friend, they know how to start the thing, they know how to make it go forwards and backwards, and that’s about it,” he said.

    When a vessel is in compliance, Chestermere Municipal Enforcement will issue a compliance decal to the registered boat owner.

    “If they have been requested to dock the boat and bring their vessel into compliance, whether it’s getting an additional life jacket or another piece of safety equipment, for the most part it’s pretty common that somebody is missing one or two things, and they are compliant with us,” Press said.

    “They will either go right away and get it or make sure it’s there for the next time they are out on the water,” he added. “Those who are not compliant, it’s usually not any kind of malicious intent, it’s simply not knowing or not checking what’s on board.”

    To receive a vessel compliance decal, all vessels must have a Canadian approved personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket that is of the appropriate size of each person on board or being towed, buoyant heaving line, watertight flashlight, and sound signaling device.

    Subject to the vessels length, type, and condition, additional safety equipment may be required including a life buoy attached to a buoyant line, re-boarding device, anchor with the required length of cable, rope, or chain, bailer, manual bilge pump, or bilge pump arrangement, navigation lights, fire extinguisher and manual propelling device.

    The safety equipment must be in working order and readily available for immediate use whenever the vessel is on the water. 

    Press is hopeful that the new buoy system on the lake will remind lake users of speed limits, direction, no wake areas, and shallow areas.

    “There are different buoys that have been put in place, limiting the speed of vessels in certain parts of the lake to ensure proximity to beaches is kept, and people are being safe,” Press said.

    “We get a lot of people who like to fly up and down the lake as soon as the boat is launched, full throttle as fast as they can go in any direction without maintaining the proper speeds around beach areas, boat launch areas, and dock areas. People will also get too close to residential, and privately-owned docks either creating damage to them or operating unsafely,” he said.

    While Chestermere Municipal Enforcement and RCMP ensure each vessel has the proper safety equipment, and lake users are safe, the Chestermere Fire Department receives rescue calls for stand up paddle boarders, and paddle boaters.

    “We see a lot of people not monitoring the weather, a storm can come up pretty quick, and lack of experience, especially on stand-up paddle boards and paddle boats, when the wind comes up, and you’re under human power, you can end up wherever the wind is blowing fast. We do get a lot of rescues,” McClure said.

     “They overestimate their abilities,” he added. 

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the boat launch currently has enhanced sanitization and distancing measures in place, and new hours, of Monday to Tuesday 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., closed 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and Wednesday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Access hours for seasonal boat launch tags have been restored to regular hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

    The City of Chestermere has also reactivated the pin pad for residents to use their pin to enter the boat launch. 

    However, the pin pad is not regularly sanitized, and users are urged to wash or sanitize their hands before and after use.

    For additional information on water safety please visit the City of Chestermere’s website at 

    https://chestermere.ca/968/Lake-Safety.