Drinking and boating don’t mix

The rules are the same on the water as they are on the road

  • Jul. 31, 2017 11:30 a.m.

Canadian Safe Boating Council

Drinking and boating accounts for approximately 40 per cent of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways. To raise awareness and reduce alcohol related deaths, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) is launching Year 5 of an initiative called “Operation Dry Water”. Its goal is to discourage this dangerous practice.

“Many boaters are unaware that when it comes to impaired driving, the rules are the same on the water as they are on the road,” says Sienna Joyce, coordinator of the Lifesaving Society’s Waterwise Team. Combined with sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat, the effects of alcohol on the water can be greatly increased.

“We want to remind the public that alcohol consumption can result in a criminal charge, but it can also potentially lead to a highly preventable drowning death.”

“The CSBC, its partners and sponsors would like, through this and our other initiatives, to raise attention to the problem of boating under the influence and to remind boaters not to drink and boat,” stated John Gullick, chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “Operation Dry Water will focus on the potential risks of drinking and boating, and remedies that are currently in place to discourage it.”

Federal statutes dictate that, whether or not your craft is motorized, you can be charged with impaired operation of a vessel under the Criminal Code of Canada if your blood alcohol level exceeds the. .08 threshold. That means you can be charged even if you are impaired while operating a canoe and a judge is able to, upon conviction, suspend your boating privileges.

Operation Dry Water is aimed at reducing the number of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities on the water while fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use while boating. The end goal? To achieve safer and more enjoyable recreational boating.

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