“When we talk about using alcohol in combination with motor vehicles…your ability to recognize dangerous situations is reduced,” Northern Health’s Population Health Team member, Andrew Burton explained. “….You’re more likely to have accidents, more likely to react badly in a given situation, and you’re less likely to react quickly when you need to…That’s why we’re concerned about people using alcohol and going out to boat.”
Robert Pikola with the RCMP marine division says operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a violation of the Criminal Code of Canada, and is treated the same as an impaired driver of a motor vehicle, carrying with it criminal charges, a criminal record and even jail time.
Pikola also says the water is considered a public zone, and if you have a boat with a cabin and/or sleeping arrangement, the vessel needs to be anchored on the dock before the consumption of any alcohol.
“Conservation Officers can enforce that (law), as well as Fishery Officers in the coastal areas,” Pikola said. “We also have Parks Canada, they basically have similar enforcement…Obviously in some of these remote areas, it’s sometimes hard to get to but we try to get into remote areas as much as cities.”
According to MADD, 40 per cent of all boating fatalities are alcohol related.