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Canada Day incidents with stranded vessels, missing boater end with no injuries

Waves crashing during a west wind storm on McLeod Bay, Great Slave Lake. Libby Whitall Catling photo

RCMP responded to three incidents on the water on Canada Day involving stranded vessels and a missing boater, police said in a news release on Thursday.

Around 11:49 a.m. on Wednesday, Yellowknife RCMP received a call for help after a pontoon boat was stranded on the North Arm of Great Slave Lake.

The boat was taking on water and the seven passengers inside couldn’t operate it due to high winds.

RCMP contacted Yellowknife Marine Rescue, a unit of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA), who mobilized two vessels and seven volunteers for the rescue.

All passengers were safely brought back to Yellowknife.

About an hour later, around 1:02 p.m, Yellowknife RCMP received another call about a boat that had run aground near the Con Mine boat launch in Yellowknife Bay.

A second vessel, trying to help, collided with the boat and got stuck. Yellowknife RCMP requested assistance from the CCGA and they deployed a vessel with three volunteers. All four passengers and three dogs were rescued, without injuries.

“The boaters were prepared and operated their vessels in a safe manner, but had to request help due to weather and high winds, which is a good reminder to always plan for the weather, and to be prepared in case help could not arrive quickly. I am pleased no one sustained injuries and I thank our team of volunteers for their professionalism” said Brian McShane, Unit Leader for the Yellowknife Marine Rescue of the CCGA.

In a third incident, around midnight Kn Wednesday, Lutsel K’e RCMP received a report of a missing boater.

The boater, from Lutsel k’e, had departed in the direction of Yellowknife. Members of the community prepared a search plan with local resources.

The RCMP began a search and rescue operation, with air support from the Joint Rescue Command Centre (JRCC) and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA).

On Thursday morning, the boater, who had safely reached Yellowknife, reported himself to Yellowknife RCMP detachment and confirmed his well being. Due to weather, the boater had decided to camp overnight.

"Yellowknife RCMP and Lutsel K’e RCMP are pleased that these three incidents ended in a positive manner with no injuries, and want to thank the CCGA, JRCC, CASARA and community members of Lutsel K’e for their assistance," the release said.