By the middle of summer, boating is in full swing.
With warmer water, hotter days and many enjoying fun in the sun on their boats, it is the perfect time to remind Canadian boaters about the risks of drinking and boating.
Alcohol is a factor in nearly 40% of boating incidents and many Canadians simply do not understand that there are intensifying factors, known as “stressors”, such as sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat that can greatly increase the effects of alcohol on the water.
Open alcohol containers are only allowed on boats that are design to be ‘residences’, with sleeping facilities, washroom facilities and cooking facilities. Drinking is only allowed when that boat is at anchor, docked or hard aground; never while underway.
"Impaired boating has really become an issue, over 40% of boating fatalities have alcohol involved in them," explained Ian Gilson, the Director of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. "We have already have 58 boating related fatalities this year nationally, it's really trending poorly this year and we are hoping to turn it around with this year's awareness."
In 2013, the Canadian Safe Boating Council launched a campaign over the first weekend in August called Operation Dry Water. This campaign focuses on the potential risks of drinking and boating, the remedies that are currently in place to discourage the behaviour and heightened police enforcement on the water.
During Operation Dry Water, marine enforcement will be checking high traffic areas on lakes and canals throughout the country, cracking down harder than usual on operating under the influence of alcohol.