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Ridge Meadows search team rescues boaters from Pitt Lake

High winds and incoming tide stranded inflatable boats
Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue came to the assistance of boaters on Pitt Lake on Sunday. (RMSAR Facebook)

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue helped four boaters in distress on Pitt Lake Sunday evening.

According to team spokesperson Rick Laing, the four people were in two inflatable boats, and had motored up the lake, but could not make significant progress on the way back. Pitt is a tidal lake, and the tide coming in meant they were going against the current, with small boat motors.

“They were fighting the wind and the incoming tide,” said Laing.

They rowed against the tide for three hours, but called for help when they realized they could not get back to the boat launch for hours.

The two men and two women called for help at about 6:15 p.m., and the Search and Rescue team sent two of their watercraft that picked up the boaters about two hours later.

Laing explained they were easy to locate using mapping technology that is relatively new to the rescue team.

“If they have cell phone service, we can send them a text message, and if they respond to it, we can pinpoint them on a map,” he said. “The technology is pretty slick now.”

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The boaters were found just south of Goose Island, near Raven Creek Provincial Marine Park.

The boaters had gear that included emergency blankets, and they used them as they were getting cold. Everyone was fine.

Laing noted Pitt is a big lake, about 24 km long, and is unique in being a tidal lake. It is also prone to heavy winds and high waves. He advised people going on outdoor adventures to know the environment they will be in, and be prepared for challenging conditions.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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