Two pairs of youth who drifted much further than expected on Greater Victoria’s Elk Lake on Saturday (June 25), and did not have personal flotation devices on hand, can feel fortunate Saanich police and fire both had patrol boats in the water that day.
The crews played a key role in bringing the young teens to safety and the incidents prompted a safety reminder from police to parents and those engaged in recreation on the water.
Saanich police had a boat in the water with two officers and a reserve constable, in anticipation of a busy day at the lake, which it was, said Const. Markus Anastasiades.
The first call came in around 2 p.m. A parent called to say their daughter and another young friend had taken paddleboards out – the girls were aged 12 and 13 – and were no longer within sight on Elk Lake. It turned out they had lost an oar and by the time the pair were discovered by the fire boat crew, they had drifted south almost to Beaver Lake.
The girls were loaded onto the fire boat and they and their boards were transported back to the Hamsterley Road beach area.
This weekend we assisted two groups of children who floated away from Hamsterly Beach on paddleboards. Our SPD Boat was on Elk lake and helped them return to shore safely. Please practice water safety by ensuring your children are wearing a PFD. #watersafety #Saanich pic.twitter.com/tT3lQjV4I8— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) June 27, 2022
A second call for service was received around 4 p.m. and involved two children, aged 11 and 13, who had taken out a paddleboard and an inflatable raft. Both were from out of town and may not have been familiar with the waters, Anastasiades said. “The wind had picked up and they were unable to get back to shore.”
The pair were also transported back to safety by the emergency crew.
“On the water, things can happen very quickly. Wearing a lifejacket is always a great idea even if your young ones are believed to be good swimmers,” Anastasiades said.
“Having a personal flotation device of some kind, either with them or worn at all times, is something we can do to practice water safety.”
Even when the lake is busy and the water is warm, unexpected situations can happen, he added.
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