Vancouver: The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) has launched Operation Dry Water. Council says that now the days are long and warm and boating is in full swing, it’s the perfect time to remind boaters about the risks of drinking and boating. But plenty of boaters still take that risk. In fact, statistics have shown that alcohol is a factor in more than 40 % of boating incidents in Canada.
A statement issued by CSBC said that years ago, the old sentiment was alcohol and boating naturally go together. But a gradual change in social consciousness and new laws like Bill 20 in Ontario are changing the ‘tide of drinking and boating’. With Bill 20, if you are convicted of being impaired while boating, you will suffer the same consequences against your driving licence as you would if you were convicted impaired driving. Outside of the legal aspects, your risk of being physically impaired while boating is greater due to some ‘stressors’ on the water, like wind, waves and sun. They can magnify the effects of alcohol dramatically increasing the effects of a simple drink or two.
This year with Operation Dry Water we are encouraging marine law enforcement to step up on water checks and engage the media in getting the message out. This is working in partnership with this years CSBC feature campaign ‘help us catch impaired boaters, call 911’. Similar to the ‘Call 911’ campaign on the roads, the message for boaters is to alert enforcement personnel about any observed impaired operation in an effort to make Canada’s waterways safer for all of us.