OPP News Release
ORILLIA – Drinking and boating are never a good mix. Now a national campaign is taking aim to increase awareness of the dangers of operating a boat while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Operation Dry Water, which is being launched over the Civic Holiday long weekend (August 3 to 5, 2013) by the Canadian Safe Boating Council, seeks to discourage the practice of drinking and boating on waterways. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is joining the effort made by the council and other marine enforcement partners to promote the message - NEVER boat under the influence.
While the responsibility for enforcing laws on the water belongs to police, the responsibility to ensure our waterways are a safe place to work and play is shared by all boaters. Alcohol and drug impairment continue to be a factor in boating deaths and injuries. Similar to the efforts on our highways, we all have a role to play in boating safety. According to a recent report by the Lifesaving Society Canada, 39 per cent of preventable boating fatalities (2006-2010) involved alcohol consumption. During 2012, the OPP investigated 20 fatal boating incidents and determined that seven involved alcohol or drugs.
“Dealing with drinking and boating is not new for OPP marine officers,” said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the Highway Safety Division . “Having the voice of a national campaign, coupled with directed patrols and enforcement, the OPP is optimistic that a new level of boating safety can be achieved.”
Get on board...don’t drink and boat
IMPAIRED BOATING = IMPAIRED DRIVING
As of June 22, 2006, boaters caught drinking and boating in Ontario face the same penalties as those for drinking and driving. Penalties include:
· 12-hour driver’s licence suspension if caught with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in the “warn” range (0.05 to 0.08).
· For boaters exceeding a 0.08 BAC:
o Immediate 90-day driver’s licence suspension;
o Mandatory alcohol assessment, education and follow-up as a condition of licence re-instatement;
o Installation of an Ignition Interlock on the boater’s vehicle (their vehicle, not their boat);
o Vehicle impoundment for driving while under suspension; and,
o If convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada, the boater’s driver’s licence can be suspended for a period of one year to a lifetime ban depending on whether it is a first, second, or subsequent offence.
These penalties apply to anyone who is caught drinking in motorized and non-motorized vessels, including power boats, canoes, kayaks, jet-skis, sail boats and dinghies and other inflatable boats and rafts.
Don’t Drink and Boat...the laws in Ontario
Know the laws and responsibilities with regard to drinking and boating to ensure a safe time on the water. In Ontario, there are specific requirements relating to the consumption and transportation of alcohol.
Ontario Liquor Licence Act
It is illegal to transport beverage alcohol in a boat unless it is in a container that is unopened and the seal unbroken, unless the alcohol is reasonably stowed (in baggage or a closed compartment) and is not readily available to anyone.
No alcohol can be consumed by anyone onboard while a boat is underway. Consumption is only permitted if the following requirements are met:
· The boat is fitted with permanent cooking, sleeping and washroom facilities (built into the boat); and,
· The boat is at anchor, tied to a dock or grounded.
· Once you pull anchor, all alcohol must be put away.
Impaired Operation of a Vessel
Operating a boat while impaired is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. In Ontario, provincial legislation (Highway Traffic Act) provides police with the authority to suspend the driver's licence (12-hour suspension) and issue a 90-day Administrative Driver’s Licence Suspension (ADLS) for a boat operator who registers a “fail” on a breath test. Additionally, upon conviction of Impaired Operation of a Vessel or Operation in Excess 80 milligr ams of Alcohol, the operator’s driver’s licence may be suspended for a minimum of one year.
Tragically, 21 people died on OPP-patrolled waterways in 2012, in seven of 20 fatal incidents, investigations revealed that alcohol/drugs were involved. The OPP is committed to improving the safety of Ontario’s highways, waterways and trails. This is a shared responsibility...please don’t drink and boat.