Boating is a great Canadian pastime. Part of what makes boating so enjoyable is being out on the water with friends and family. For some, socializing on the boat may mean an occasional cold one. Most Canadians wouldn’t dream of driving their car after drinking – so why would they drink and go boating? Not only is it illegal – It’s every bit as dangerous.
Unfortunately, drinking and boating is still a factor in more than 35% of boating-related fatalities each year. It comes down to a matter of attitude:
– 37% of Canadian boaters say they consume alcohol every time they go boating
– 66% report consuming alcohol “always or sometimes” when boating
– Only 32% of Canadians believe the operator of a vessel should not consume alcohol
Mixing alcohol and boating is far more dangerous than most people realize – with the effects of alcohol being up to 4 times greater when consuming alcohol on a boat than on land. Fatigue, sun, wind and the motion of the boat all combine to intensify the effects of alcohol – resulting in reduced reaction time, poor fine motor skills and impaired judgment.
Drinking and boating is also against the law. The penalties are severe – Boaters can be charged if an enforcement officer believes their ability to operate a vessel has been impaired by alcohol or drugs, even if the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is below .08%.
Canadians can lose their driver’s licence or be prohibited from operating a vessel for 3 months, depending on the charge. Charges also result in a criminal record that could prevent the offender from being bonded or travelling to other countries.
The message is clear – Keep the Beer on the Pier and the Water on the Water!