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Caution is advised

Planning a visit to the spectacular outdoors of BC in the next few weeks? This is a province that needs to be enjoyed to the full. This year, with the seasons running a bit late, here are a few things to consider, so that you can maximize your fun quotient, while maximizing the safety quotient as well.

Much of the province is in freshet, spring run-off in layman’s terms. This means there are additional hazards in the outdoors that can thoroughly ruin a good day, camping trip and sadly, in some instances, a good life. If you’re planning to head up to your favourite lake for a little swimming and boating fun, or taking your kayak or inner tube out to the Cheakamus or Similkameen River in the next few weeks, you should pay close attention. Even if you are just going for a hike or a picnic, be careful going near our creeks, rivers, and lakes during these periods of high water,

  • Stay away from any floodwater. Six inches of quickly moving water can knock you off of your feet. Don’t be fooled even water with a smooth surface may still be moving quickly.
  • Don’t drive your car through flood water. It may be deeper than expected, it may mask a washout and less than two feet of flowing water can wash your car away. Stay out.
  • If you have to travel by boat, go slowly. Flood waters may conceal debris that can disable your motor, or cause your boat to capsize. Also, be aware your boat’s wake may cause damage to flood barriers on shore. Go slow.
  • If water intrudes into your favourite picnic area, don’t stay. Stay out of even shallow flood water, it may be contaminated. Be aware of culverts and ditches which may also be traps for little people and big people alike. Keep pets tethered when around flood hazards. Many people jump into dangerous water to rescue a pet and lose their life in the process. In some instances the pet may find its own way out.

Remember, flood water can be deceptive. Although it may not appear dangerous, fast-rising and fast-moving water can carry debris that will knock you down, and once in the current it’s difficult to recover. Flood water can and make shorelines unstable. It can undercut riverbanks which can collapse and drop individuals into fast flowing streams. Finally, keep in mind that mountain lakes, streams and rivers can be exceptionally cold, and users should be prepared for cold water and how to deal with exposure. Better yet, stay out of it.