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Warmer weather is attracting water sports enthusiasts and one Saskatoon company is urging them to use the river safely

Warmer weather is attracting water sports enthusiasts and one Saskatoon company is urging them to use the river safely
Warmer weather is attracting water sports enthusiasts and one Saskatoon company is urging them to use the river safely

The captain of the Prairie Lily wishes the people he shares the river with were more aware of the situation.

Mike Steckhan says he travels up and down the river two to four times a day, and because of this he has noticed how little people are aware of their surroundings.

He explains that the 107-ton Prairie Lily follows a narrow, predetermined route and cannot stop quickly, making it difficult to avoid obstacles in its path.

“Do I risk my 100 passengers on my vessel that I am legally responsible for, do I risk their safety or do I risk the safety of the person in the water? And I hate to be put in that position, if you can imagine that.”

Steckhan advises anyone using canoes, paddleboards or boats on the river: treat the river like the water highway that it is.

“You wouldn’t walk down Circle Drive in the middle of the street with your eyes closed. Be aware and really think about the fact that we can’t just stop.”

He says that in a dire situation he honks his horn at those who stand in his way, and this is often met with anger.

“If someone tangos with that boat, they’re going to lose. There’s no doubt about it. Whether you’re in a speedboat or a kayak, it doesn’t really matter. You’re going to lose. I just don’t want to see that happen. We’re doing everything we can to prevent any kind of incident.”