Chris Cottrill, RCMP summer constable, talks water safety

For the fourth year, Grand Forks RCMP has a summer constable patrolling the waters at Christina Lake.

Const. Chris Cottrill at Christina Lake on Aug. 1.

For the fourth year, Grand Forks RCMP has a summer constable patrolling the waters at Christina Lake.

Const. Chris Cottrill says amongst his duties are checking boats to make sure people have their boating licences and following the rules and in his four years in his summer job, there haven’t been any serious incidents but he is noticing a frequent occurrence of a certain type of infraction this year.

“We’re checking boats to make sure people are complying with having their boating licences and safety equipment and following the rules,” Cottrill explained. “The one thing I’ve noticed this year; there are a lot more paddle-boarders on the Lake and we’re trying to ensure everyone is aware they need to have a (life-jacket) even on a paddle board – a lot of people aren’t aware of that law.”

Amongst the common infractions Cottrill sees, people not being in possession of a boaters’ licence or boaters card and not having ID numbers on a boat or safety items like flashlights or fire extinguishers.

Liquor infractions are common but seem to be on the decline.

“As far as drinking, the biggest thing we want is the drivers/operators don’t have any alcohol in their systems,” Cottrill said. “We do have an ASE that we have with us, a roadside screening device, this year I’ve only tested two people so far this summer and they passed it.”

When it comes to boating and alcohol, boat operators are not allowed to be drinking but there can be alcohol on a boat.

“The only thing we tell them is don’t be tying up three or more boats together on the Lake, or wherever. It comes from being a private setting to when they have the music cranked up and people jumping from one boat to another; it’s just dangerous. Plus we don’t know how many life-jackets are going to be on the said boat. When people are jumping from one boat to another boat, they could be overloading that boat or there may not be enough life-jackets on that boat,” he said.

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