Maybe you’re staying at home this weekend or maybe you’re heading up to the cottage. If your weekend involves boating remember to leave the booze behind and boat sober. Drinking while boating can have the same consequences as drinking and driving. Your driver's license can be suspended from one year up to a lifetime depending if it’s your first, second, or subsequent offence. You can be charged with impaired operation of a vessel and could face a fine or imprisonment. These laws are enforced by local, provincial, and federal police on our water ways. In all provinces in Canada it is illegal to boat while under the influence.
Mixing alcohol and boating is far more dangerous than one may think. Under normal circumstances things like wind, sun, and the motion of the boat can dull your senses. Being under the influence, clouds your judgement even more while slowing your hand eye coordination. You are responsible for the safety of your guests on the boat and other on the water. You must be prepared and alert at all times.
Red Cross Statistics
- 37% of boaters admit that consume alcohol every time they boat
- 66% of boaters admit they drink sometimes while boating
- Alcohol is a factor in over 40% of all boat related fatalities
In most provinces alcohol can be consumed on a boat if the boat meets all 4 requirements:
- Has permanent sleeping facilities
- Has permanent cooking facilities
- Has permanent toilet
- Is anchored or secured by the dock
In Ontario, it is illegal to carry alcohol in a car, snowmobile, or boat unless it is unopened and the seal is unbroken, or unless the beverage alcohol is packaged in baggage that is fastened closed and is not readily available to anyone in the vehicle. In a boat the beverage container must be stored in a closed compartment.