On July 1st, Yellowknife RCMP and Lutselk’e RCMP responded to three vessels stranded on Great Slave Lake and one missing boater.
At approximately 11:49 a.m., the first call for help was received by Yellowknife RCMP. A pontoon boat was stranded on the Northwest Arm of the Great Slave Lake. The boat was taking on water and the passengers, seven in total, couldn’t operate it due to high winds.
Yellowknife RCMP contacted Yellowknife Marine Rescue, a unit of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, and they mobilized two vessels and seven volunteers for the rescue. All passengers were safely brought back to Yellowknife and no one sustained injuries.
At approximately 1:02 pm, another call was received by Yellowknife RCMP, this time for a boat who had run aground in the area of the Con Mine boat launch, in Yellowknife Bay. A second vessel, trying to help, collided into the boat and got stuck.
Yellowknife RCMP requested assistance from the CCGA and they mobilized a vessel with three volunteers to respond. All four passengers and three dogs were rescued, without injuries.
“The boaters were prepared and operated their vessels in a safe manner, but had to request help due to weather and high winds, which is a good reminder to always plan for the weather, and to be prepared in case help could not arrive quickly. I am pleased no one sustained injuries and I thank our team of volunteers for their professionalism” states Brian McShane, Unit Leader for the Yellowknife Marine Rescue, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Also around midnight, on Wednesday, July 1st, Lutselk’e RCMP received a report of a missing boater. The boater, from Lutselk’e, had left towards Yellowknife. Community members prepared a search plan with local resources.
The RCMP initiated a search and rescue operation, with air support from the Joint Rescue Command Centre and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. The next morning, on Thursday, July 2nd, the boater, who had made it safely to Yellowknife, reported himself to Yellowknife RCMP detachment and confirmed his wellbeing. Due to weather, the boater had decided to camp overnight.
These incidents happened after Yellowknife RCMP hosted a Search and Rescue Incident Commander/Boat operator familiarization day with partners and different NT RCMP units at the Giant Mine boat launch on June 27th.
A total of 28 participants were involved. NT RCMP boat operators from Behchoko, Gameti and Yellowknife Detachments worked with various NT RCMP units: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operators, Emergency Medical Response Team, Criminal Intelligence Program and Police Dog Services. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Yellowknife Ground Search and Rescue and Yellowknife Civil Air Search and Rescue Association were part of the familiarization day.
This familiarization day was being conducted as the marine season is underway. Each year, search and rescue operations are conducted on the waterways around Yellowknife and in the Northwest Territories.
The RCMP released a few safety tips for people to keep in mind every time they are engaging in marine activities, boating, or fishing.
- Ensure you carry a radio, and that it is working properly.
- Have a plan in place, share it with family or a friend. You plan should include your departure time, destination, intended return time. It should also list who’s on board, supplies on board and characteristics of your vessel (length, colour, construction material).
- Know your position. Carry navigation equipment such as GPS, compass and radar.
- Check the weather: always monitor and respect the weather. Weather conditions can change rapidly.
- Always be prepared: be prepared for a delayed return. Carry extra clothing, food, water, matches, flashlights, flares, reflective clothing markers and adequate first aid kit. Individuals requiring medication should always carry an extra supply.
- Ensure your boat is in working order. If you are operating a small boat with outboard motor, carry a back up engine and extra fuel. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your vessel and practice your emergency drills.
If you are boating and in need of help, dial 9-1-1 or contact Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111. Make sure to provide as much information as possible, including your location and if anyone is injured, to better assist the Search and Rescue partners in preparing a rapid response.