“Operation Dry Water” reminds you to boat sober this long weekend

Operation Dry Water

Drinking and boating accounts for approximately 40% of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways. In 2018, the Canadian Safe Boating Council along with our enforcement and Search & Rescue agencies are also concerned about the potential impact of legalization of recreational marijuana and the increase in use and abuse of prescription narcotics on boating incidents and fatalities.

To raise awareness and reduce impairment-related deaths, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) is launching year six of an initiative called “Operation Dry Water” It’s goal is to stress the importance of Boating Sober.

With the summer boating season in high gear, the August 4th – 6th long weekend is the perfect time to remind Canadian boaters about the risks of impaired boating. Combined with sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat, the effects of alcohol and drugs on the water can be greatly increased.

“Alcohol is a common factor associated with drowning. Young adults aged 20-34 are at particularly high risk. 53% of young adults who drowned in Alberta had consumed alcohol. The Lifesaving Society Alberta and Northwest Territories Branch encourage Albertans and residents of the Northwest Territories to avoid alcohol when participating in aquatic activities.” Mandy Fisher, Manager Development and Operations. Source: Alberta Drowning Report – 2018 Edition.

Supt. Gary Graham, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services, says, “Operating a boat or vessel is a major leisure activity on Alberta waterways, especially during long weekends. Impaired operation of vessels on waterways is dangerous and it’s illegal. We will continue to work together with boaters, the Canadian Safe Boating Council and our communities to discourage impaired boating.”

Federal statutes dictate that boaters can be charged with Impaired Operation of a Vessel under the Criminal Code of Canada if they are found to be impaired. Under current and proposed legislation, human-powered craft are not excluded from the definition of a vessel and, so, are subject to the same penalties. Some provinces have enacted legislation where impaired boating can affect your automobile driving privileges.

Operation Dry Water is aimed at reducing the number of impairment-related accidents and fatalities on the water while fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use while boating. The end goal? To achieve safer and more enjoyable recreational boating.

During the August long weekend, a number of Police agencies will be offering the media the chance to ride along while they conduct on-water vessel safety checks. Please contact your local detachment to see if they are offering this opportunity.

This initiative is made possible through support of Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.

For additional information on boating safety please visit www.csbc.ca under CSBC Safety Campaigns.