The following message was distributed to the Central Alberta Recreational Lakes group for information by Wabamun power boater Phil Sutton, the organizer of Dip In Day. While boating safety is not usually a SLWSS environmental concern it is still a lake access issue. When new boater marine skills and knowledge are close to the water temperature (i.e., zero) SLWSS members can be vigilant and aware of the risks of unsafe practices.
There was a tragic accident on Lake Wabamun on Saturday last. The worst part is that it was quite avoidable. Three people went out tube riding, two had PFD’s on the third did not. When all three were dumped in the very cold choppy water, the two with PFD’s were easyly recovered. The third, not using a PFD is still missing and presumed drowned.
As it happened I was on the lake on Saturday checking out some mod.s I did to Galatea over the winter. When we got back to the dock at Wabamun we were confronted by a couple of guys trying to launch a brand new 18 footer with inboard and all sorts of extras. They did not know how to get it off the trailer and when we helped with that they did not know how to start it until we showed them where the battery cutoff switch was.
They did not have any dock lines, PFD’s, anchor, rode, or paddles. I did not ask if they had a recreational boaters permit.
Looking back on it and knowing now what had happened earlier on the lake. In future I would not help someone not properly equipped.