UPDATE (w/video) : Eight boaters rescued from Pitt Lake

Campers from Surrey, Burnaby stranded after tide swamps boat

Eight boaters are home safe, after being stranded on the shore of wild Pitt Lake since Thursday.

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue said the group was camping near Osprey Creek, but put their tents too close to the shore.

The rising tide of the lake damaged their boat, soaked their tents and spoiled their food, leaving them stranded.

The group attempted to flag down other boaters from shore, but was unsuccessful, said Rick Laing, with search and rescue.

“So from Friday through to Saturday, according to them, they were signalling for assistance.”

Laing said other boaters in the lake may not have responded to the campers waving from shore because they thought they were Canada Day revellers.

But if someone’s in trouble on the water, fellow boaters are required to help them. “There certainly is an obligation to render aid. There is … a responsibility for boaters to lend a hand when another boater is in trouble on the water.”

He wasn’t sure about the requirement to rescue people on shore but people at least should call 911.

Two of the group hitched a ride on a small boat to Grant Narrows on Friday to try to get parts to fix the boat. But that didn’t work.

Search and rescue got the call from Ridge Meadows RCMP Saturday night at about 8:15 p.m. When they arrived, another boater had already started giving the campers a tow but search and rescue took over and took them to Grant Narrows.

“They were cold, wet, tired, hungry, all of that,” Laing.

“I don’t think they were impressed.”

The campers, in their 20s, from Surrey and Burnaby, appreciated search and rescue’s help.

Laing said the group told them that someone wanted $500 to tow them in then cut them loose when they didn’t cough up the cash. “We can’t verify that. That’s what they told us.”

The search and rescue group is reminding boaters and campers that Pitt Lake is a tidal lake and the water rises and falls two times a day.

Many on Facebook warn about the dangers of Pitt Lake.

“The lake is deep and cold. You might swim out a hundred yards and realize that the cold water has sapped your energy and you can’t make it back. Beware, this lake will eat you up,” said George Clarke.

Another warned about the sudden winds that can sweep down from the north, turning a calm summer day stormy.