The Town of Deer Lake, the Deer Lake detachment of the RCMP, Deer Lake Search and Rescue (SAR) and Transport Canada have met and will work together to deal with boating safety issues on the Humber River and on the lake. The groups met on Tuesday, July 31, to discuss a variety of boating safety issues, including excessive speed by boaters, dangerous driving, impaired driving and boaters who are operating boats and jet skis while underage. The four groups will develop a boating safety education program in the coming months, aimed at introduction in time for the next boating season. The education program would include safety patrols and an emphasis on the requirement to wear life jackets while on the water.
In the meantime, the Town will install cameras to record illegal activities on the river and at the boat launch. Footage captured by these cameras will be used to have the RCMP lay charges against those who break the law. Transport Canada has indicated that if dangerous practices continue, it has the legal jurisdiction to close boating access to part or all of the river and lake. In recent days, there have been numerous complaints made to the Town Office. For example, there were complaints that near the boat launch, boaters were doing donuts, causing disruption for boaters trying to launch their boats. Drinking on the water has been a major complaint. As well, other complaints have been received regarding boaters who ignore wake signs and travel at high speed through the swimming area on the west side of the island in the mouth of the Humber River. In some of these cases, children as young as 10-years-old have been observed operating watercraft in an unsafe manner.