By ROY WOOD
Osoyoos town staff will seek a legal opinion about whether it has the authority to regulate powered watercraft rentals following a fatal accident earlier this month involving two jet skis on Osoyoos Lake.
Taylor Anne Jessop, 24, of Coquitlam died August 5 after two rented jet skis collided.
Upon renting the watercraft, the victim and the operator of the other jet ski were required only to fill out a Rental Boat Safety Checklist.
Operators of privately-owned watercraft need to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, which requires taking a course and an exam about boating safety. Both are typically done on line.
During a discussion at Monday’s council meeting, Councillor CJ Rhodes wondered if there is anything the Town can do enforce some sort of safety rules.
Chief administrative officer Barry Romanko said the only possible avenue would be through the town’s business licensing process.
He said he is doubtful the town has the authority, but urged council to authorize expenditure to seek legal advice on the issue. Council agreed to do so.
Councillor Carol Youngberg suggested sending a letter to local businesses that rent watercraft asking for their views on the issue.
Water safety falls under the jurisdiction of the federal Transport Ministry. Council voted to write to the Minister of Transport urging “more due diligence regarding safety and the rentals of powered watercraft.”
Councillor Mike Campol lamented the fact that while people must have a licence to operate, for example, a motorcycle, they need no such certification to operate a jet ski, “which is essentially a motorcycle on the water.”