Drinking and boating accounts for approximately 40 per cent of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways. To raise awareness and reduce alcohol related deaths, York Regional Police is working with the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and police services across the country to launch year three of an initiative called “Operation Dry Water”. The goal of the campaign is to discourage the dangerous practice of impaired boating.
With the summer boating season in high gear, the August long weekend is the perfect time to remind Canadian boaters about the risks of impaired boating. Combined with sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of a boat, the effects of alcohol on the water can be greatly increased.
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. Impaired boating, like impaired operation of a motor vehicle, is a criminal offence that can have repercussions far beyond the loss of your boating privileges.
York Regional Police reminds all boaters of the following safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable boating season:
- Never drink alcohol or consume drugs before operating a vessel or personal water craft
- Ensure everyone onboard wears an approved life jacket
- Carry all necessary equipment onboard in accordance with the Small Vessel Regulations
- Tell someone about your plans and carry a cell phone with a fully-charged battery
- Always have enough fuel onboard to get you to your destination
- Be aware of changing weather conditions
For more information on marine safety, please contact the York Regional Police Marine Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7321 or visit the Transport Canada website at http://www.tc.gc.ca/ – CINEWS