Day to Day Operations of the Tugs and Stern wheelers on Okanagan Lake

  • The SS Sicamous made its maiden voyage on July 12, 1914.
  • The Sicamous carried passengers, mail, express items and freight to and from settlements along Okanagan Lake
  • Her daily schedule would consist of departure, from Penticton, at 5:30 a.m.  She would arrive at Okanagan Landing by noon, and arrive back in Penticton around 8:00 p.m.
  • Up to 14 stops were made daily so a total trip could be 140 miles.
  • When docked at the Okanagan Landing Shipyards, and at the Penticton docks the deck hands would be busy shovelling coal (from 7.5-8.5 tons of coal per trip!)
  • Deckhands would also load and unload cargo and take care of passenger pick-up and drop-off (at each and every stop).


Cold Winters on Okanagan Lake

  • The tugs Naramata and M.V Okanagan would usually run ahead of Sicamous to create a channel in the ice.
  • Paddle wheel was used every once and a while to break the ice, the Sicamous would reverse and create a channel that way[13]
  • Boats where sometimes unable to break the ice in lake shore bays and inlets
  • The boat would still be used, but many times passengers would have to complete their journey on foot
  • Wheel was as wide as the boat so it could cast a wide, swift current.[14]
  • The history of freezing over – In the last 100 years the lake froze over 5 times:1893, 1916, 1929, 1935, 1950[15]
  • Barges could be used to break ice[16]
  • If the Sicamous could not break the ice ramming the ice with barge head on, the captain would maneuver the barge on top of the ice and the weight of the barge would break the ice
  • The wood hammer hung on the wall at the back of the ship , was used to break up ice one the stern wheel during the winter