The people who watch over Lake Osoyoos have a new boat.

The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society held a reception Wednesday afternoon at the Walnut Beach Resort — where the new boat is moored — to thank the many community groups, businesses and others who made the purchase possible.

Birgit Arnstein

The 21-foot Forester Pontoon boat is replacing an aging 23-foot Rebel pontoon boat that had outlived its usefulness to the society.

“Today was the first lake monitoring session in our new boat,” said society president Birgit Arnstein. “We were so excited to take this very stable comfortable boat out for its first work session.

“Our new boat has a work table along with a 12-volt plug for our computer which connects to our Hydro-lab 4 multi testing unit.”

It also has a new motor, aluminum pontoons — instead of fibreglass — and a stable platform for the society’s team to do its job.

Earlier Wednesday, a team of eight volunteers, including new trainees, took to the lake for a half-day session of recording lake values and collecting lake samples.

The samples are used to test for water clarity, pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and temperature at varying depths. They samples also are used to search for invasive quagga and zebra mussels.

“The motor works really well. It’s quite peppy,” said boat captain Iain Fraser. “It’s more stable than our previous boat. All in all, we’re pretty satisfied with it.”

Wednesday’s celebration brought out Mayor Sue McKortoff, Walnut Beach Resort General Manager Don Brogan and the Osoyoos Credit Union’s Anna Relvas.

Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff and Walnut Beach GM Don Brogan listen to remarks from OLWQS president Birgit Arnstein.

“The lake is an important part of our community,” said Mayor McKortoff. “We’re very happy to support the water quality society.”

Mayor McKortoff also chairs the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

“At the OBWB, this is the [organization] we talk about. There is nobody like this organization anywhere else in the valley.”

Ms. Arnstein also thanked other contributors to the project, including Osoyoos Credit Union, the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, FortisBC, the United Church Thrift Store, Osoyoos Signs and the Sage Pub.

“A big thank you to Don Brogan and the staff at Walnut beach resort for the moorage and storage,” she added. “I’d also like to thank Jordy Hubert of Osoyoos Marine and Dirk Tennert of Vantage Power Sports and Marine for preparing our boat and motor.”

The society was founded in 1991 to help promote public awareness of Osoyoos Lake and has since engaged in conservation, monitoring pollution, lake management and protection.

It is a nonpolitical, non-profit charitable organization run entirely by local volunteers.

By the way, if you’re in the market for a pontoon-style boat, the society has its 2003 Rebel for sale. It’s asking $5,000 for the fibreglass boat, which is powered by a 50 HP Mariner Mercury four-stroke outboard.

You can call 250-408-4560 or 250-495-0728 for more information.