Divers considered to locate lost boats after windstorm damages Kelowna Yacht Club

Strong winds in the Southern Interior on Sunday caused powerful waves to pummel docks and boats on Okanagan Lake, resulting in significant damage to the Kelowna Yacht Club and members' boats.

Dollar value of damages estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands after storm batters marina

Sunday night's windstorm in the southern Interior caused significant damage to boats and docks at the Kelowna Yacht Club. At least one boat was blown ashore and divers will be required to retrieve those suspected of sinking in the storm. (Kelowna Yacht Club)

Strong winds whipped across Okanagan Lake Sunday, leaving behind a wake of destroyed docks, broken breakwaters, and a least 150 significantly damaged boats at the Kelowna Yacht Club.

The winds kicked up late Sunday evening and club members were evacuated from the docks for their safety.

In the morning light, the damage to the marina is estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and divers may need to be called in to locate missing boats, according to Sally Howard, the club's general manager.

Volunteers scrambled throughout the night to catch boats that had broken loose in the storm, said Howard.

"That's one wonderful thing about being a club. We had a lot of volunteers come out of the woodwork as soon as it was safe to go out there, and there was a small army of volunteers pulling boats back in," said Howard. 

Damage to the marina docks and breakwater is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Sally Howard, the club's general manager. (Kelowna Yacht Club)

Boats missing

Despite their efforts, at least one boat is confirmed to have sunk and Howard told CBC''s Christina Low that she suspects there could be more.

"As owners come down and look," said Howard, "I have had a few say my slip's here, but my boat is not."

Howard said some of these boats may have been relocated after they were retrieved in the night, and that at least one boat was found beached on shore, but she suggested club members visit the marina's website for updates as they become available.

"In our basin, which is usually like glass, it was very, very tumultuous," said Howard, who explained to CBC that the marina had a robust breakwater and strong dock system.

Marina breakwater breaks free

The marina will need to replace the breakwater on the west side after it completely broke free. Built of log booms, each section had at least eight or nine anchors to secure it, indicating the strength of the storm.

"I think this was just the angle of the wind, the strength of the wind, the power of the wind and the power of the water, and I don't think it would have been possible to mitigate any of it," said Howard. 

Insurance adjustors are assessing the extent of the damage to the marina. The Kelowna Yacht Club will be working with affected parties on an ongoing basis during the repair process.

With files from Christina Low


To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled Kelowna Yacht Club damages assessed after Okanagan windstorm