Lutsel’Ke RCMP were involved in three Search and Rescues on Great Slave Lake between August 6 and 7th as three separate boating parties were reported overdue.

In two cases, boaters failed to show up on time at an event in Fort Reliance. The third case involved an overdue boat that left Lutsel’Ke for Yellowknife on Tuesday August 4th.

On August 4th 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 6th. Soon after being reported missing, they were located on an island in the East Arm after deciding to wait out poor weather.

On August 7th, a boater from Lutsel’Ke was reported missing enroute to Fort Reliance. Civilian Air Search and Rescue Association was engaged in this search as well, however, the search was called off when it was learned the boater had reached their destination and was safe.

On August 4th a boat carrying four adults departed Lutsel’Ke for Yellowknife expecting to arrive that evening. They were reported missing August 6th. Lutsel’Ke. RCMP engaged CASARA on August 6th in the search and they located the boaters drifting off Keith Island as a result of mechanical issues. A member of the public had contact with the boaters and called the location in, assisting CASARA in the process.

No one was injured in these events and none of the parties had emergency communication devices.

The RCMP noted that this highlights some of the preparations and safety measures they encourage the public to follow when on the water:

  1. Ensure you carry a radio, and that it is working properly. A satellite phone and/or an emergency communication device is also recommended.
  2. Have a plan in place, share it with family or a friend. Your plan should include your departure time, destination, intended return time. It should also list of who’s on board, supplies on board and characteristics of your vessel (length, colour, construction material).
  3. Know your position. Carry navigation equipment such as GPS, compass and radar.
  4. Check the weather: always monitor and respect the weather. Weather conditions can change rapidly.
  5. Always be prepared: be prepared for a delayed return. Carry extra clothing, food, water, matches, flashlights, flares, reflective clothing markers and adequate first aid kit. Individuals requiring medication should always carry an extra supply.
  6. Ensure your boat is in working order. If you are operating a small boat with outboard motor, carry a back up engine and extra fuel. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your vessel and practice your emergency drills.

The RCMP add that if you are boating and in need of help, dial 9-1-1 or contact Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111 and make sure to provide as much information as possible, including your location and if anyone is injured, to better assist the Search and Rescue partners in preparing a rapid response.

“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. The safety tips we mention provide important information in assisting us in launching a Search and Rescue, so please follow them and travel safely” states Staff Sergeant Ken Beard, South District Advisory NCO, NT RCMP.

The RCMP thanks the citizens that assisted in locating these overdue boaters, and CASARA for mobilizing for an air search.