Drinking and boating account for approximately 40% of boating related fatalities on Canadian waterways. To raise awareness and reduce alcohol related deaths, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the OPP is launching year 2 of an initiative called “ Operation Dry Water “, it’s goal is to discourage this dangerous practice.
With the summer boating season in high gear, the August 2nd long weekend is the perfect time to remind Canadian boaters about the risk of drinking and boating. Combined with sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat, the effects of alcohol on the water can be greatly increased.
The CSBC and the OPP would like, through this initiative, to raise attention to the problem of boating under the influence and to remind boaters not to drink and boat.
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. This 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. But that’s not all, it can get worse.
Some provinces have enacted legislation where drinking and boating can affect your automobile driving privileges. In Ontario if you operate a boat while your ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs your driver’s licence will also be suspended immediately for a period of 90 days.
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.