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RCMP are reminding the public to stay safe on the water after carrying out three separate search and rescue operations last week.

In two cases, boaters failed to show up on time to an event in Fort Reliance. The third case involved an overdue boat set to arrive in Yellowknife from Lutsel K’e. All parties have since been located and no one was injured, though none of the parties had emergency communications devices. 

The RCMP encourages boaters to carry a satellite phone or radio with them while out on the water, in addition to navigation equipment like a GPS, compass, or radar. They suggest checking weather conditions ahead of time as well as ensuring boats are in working order before departure. 

The RCMP suggests telling family or friends about travel plans including, a list of who is on board, a description of what the boat looks like, and intended departure and arrival times.

“The Great Slave Lake is a very large body of water, so we encourage any travelers to be prepared, carry communication devices, and let someone know when and where you are going,” said RCMP Staff Sergeant Ken Beard.

In a news release, the RCMP describe the three cases as follows:

On Aug. 4, a boat carrying two adults and two children (11 and 3 years) were overdue for arrival in Fort Reliance. They were reported missing on August 6. Soon after being reported missing, they were located on an island in the East Arm after deciding to wait out poor weather.

On Aug. 4, a boat carrying four adults departed Lutsel K’e for Yellowknife expecting to arrive that evening. They were reported missing two days later on Aug. 6. Civilian Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), the volunteer based aviation association, ultimately found the boaters with the help of a member of the public who had contact with the missing party. They were found drifting off Keith Island as a result of mechanical issues.

On Aug. 7, a boater from Lutsel K’e was reported missing enroute to Fort Reliance, though the search was called off when it was learned the boater had reached their destination and was safe.

The RCMP reminds boaters to always be prepared for emergencies with extra clothing, water, food, matches, and a first aid kit. 

Anyone needing help should call 9-1-1 or the Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111.

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Natalie Pressman

Natalie is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program. She has since held contracts working with an NGO in Vietnam and with Journalists for Human Rights in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent...

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