Open Water Swim Across Okanagan Lake

Safety Power Boat Information

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Safety Boaters, thank you for volunteering to assist us with the 21st annual Interior Savings Rattlesnake Island Swim. This year marks the first year that the swim is being organized and coordinated by the Across the Lake Swim Society. If you were involved in past swims, welcome back! If you are joining us for the first time, welcome and thank you for volunteering!

We ask that you take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the swim itself (there are a number of changes from previous years) and review the following boater/lifeguard info and emergency information. Should you have any questions, please contact: the Safety Coordinator (jon@rattlesnakeIslandswim.com)

The Interior Savings Rattlesnake Island Swim Consists of 2 Events

A 7 km distance that starts at Swim Bay in Peachland at 7am where swimmers swim out to Rattlesnake Island, around the backside of the island in a counter clockwise direction, swim back to and finish at Swim Bay.

The second event is a 3.1 km distance, where swimmers are transported by houseboat and 2 motor boats from the public boat launch next to the yacht club out to the north side of Rattlesnake Island, where they are dropped in the water to swim back to and finish at Swim Bay. The 3.1km race starts at approximately 7:50am. The 3.1 km swimmers will board the house boat at 6:30am for an approximate 6:45am departure for Rattlesnake Island.

All swimmers are required to swim with a personal swim buoy, supplied at no extra charge on race day. The swim buoy serves to make swimmers more visible on the lake and can be used as a flotation device (although it is not considered a lifesaving device). More information can be found here: http://rattlesnakeislandswim.com/swim-buddy/

All 7 km swimmers are required to have an experienced support person (s), paddling alongside and carrying an extra lifejacket as well as standard safety equipment.

The 3.1 km swimmers are not required to have a support person(s), although 36 have registered with a support paddler

White bathing caps are worn by swimmers who are anxious or unsure about completing the swim. 70 percent of the swimmers are first time event participants.

There are time cut-offs for both the 3.1km and 7km swims. For the 3.1km swim, swimmers will have 2.5 hours to finish (until approximately 10:30am) and for the 7km swim, swimmers will have 3.5 hours to finish (until approximately 10:30am). At this time, if the swimmer is not imminently close to finishing, a support motor boat will advised to go and pick up the swimmer and take them to the finish.

Boater/Lifeguard Information

Each boat will be assigned 1 or 2 lifeguards. This is to ensure that boat drivers can focus their attention on running their boat, be alert to their surroundings and help ensure a safe event. Lifeguards can then focus on the safety of the swimmers. Please work as a team and remember this is supposed to be fun AND safe.

Jon Arkle is the safety director for the event. Please follow his instructions.

Boaters are required to pick-up your lifeguards and radio from the Peachland Yacht Club between 6:15am - 6:30am.

Each boat has been assigned to a general area, numbered 1 through 6, on either side of the swim lane. As the 7km swim starts at 7am, your boat must be at its assigned location by 6:50am. See map/diagram.

RSI Safety Map

Reminder: As boats are not required to “move along” with the swimmers, if at all possible keep running of the boat motor to a minimum. Fumes from motors travel along the lake, especially if there’s a bit of a wind and can interfere with swimmers breathing. As well, be aware that even a slow moving boat creates enough of a wake to interfere with swimmers.

The house boat and 2 motor boats that will be transporting the 3.1km swimmers to Rattlesnake Island for the start of that event and will leave the public boat launch at approximately 6:45am and transit the north side of the 3.1 km swim lane, well clear of the swimmers. It will be dropping these swimmers into the lake on the north side of Rattlesnake Island. The houseboat will move off in a northward direction to return to Peachland.

The Central Base Boat will carry a large yellow buoy on the back of their boat out to the north side of the south entrance to Rattlesnake Island. This boat will remain permanently at this location for the duration of the race and will follow the last swimmer in to the finish line. Pick up the buoy at the yacht club with your lifeguards and radio.

The Roaming Boat will carry the Safety Director, Ben Stringer. This boat is responsible for the final sweep of the lake after the last swimmer finishes to ensure all swimmers and support paddlers are in.

Emergency Information

On the water assisting with the race are the Peachland Search and Rescue Boat, patrolling the south side of the swim lanes and the South East District Marine Enforcement Unit patrolling the north side of the swim lane.

Communications: Please ensure the hand held radio you are provided with is turned on and tuned to channel 1. The radio is to be used in the event of an emergency only, to alert the Safety Director and the other boats around you.

Extraction Point

In the event of an emergency, the ambulance service as well as the rescue boats have been advised that the extraction point is the public boat launch on the north side of the Yacht Club.

In the Event of an Emergency

If the swimmer has a support paddler, the paddler will wave their paddle above their head or blow their whistle to alert a motor boat that they need assistance.

Watching for other swimmers, the motor boat should move safely and quickly to the aid of the swimmer. WATCH FOR OTHER SWIMMERS!

As all safety craft are carrying radios, you may be called to assist with an emergency.

If you notice a swimmer having difficulties, motor close by and assess if assistance is needed.

In the event that a swimmer must be removed from the water, lifeguards should be the only personnel in the water. Boat drivers should continue to maintain control of their craft, watching for other swimmers.

If an ambulance is required, call 911 and advise ambulance dispatch that you are calling from the Rattlesnake Island Swim in Peachland and you require an ambulance to meet you at the public boat launch at 8th Street, on the north side of the yacht club.

If able, also radio Safety Director to advise of the situation.

Boats not involved in the emergency should fill-in the vacated area and continue to watch the race.

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