Alcohol was a factor in nearly half of the 18 boating fatalities investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) this season. Over the Civic Day Long Weekend (Aug 2-4), the OPP is partnering with the Canadian Safe Boating Council and enforcement agencies across Canada for Operation Dry Water, a national campaign aimed at decreasing incidents of injury and death related to operating a boat while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
The majority of boating tragedies are preventable and everyone on the water has a role to play to ensure it is a safe and enjoyable activity. In Ontario, the consumption of alcohol by anyone on board any boat underway is unlawful. Boaters are allowed to have open alcohol only on boats with permanent sleeping, cooking and washroom facilities built into the boat's design and only when those boats are docked or at anchor.
Impaired operators face criminal charges and immediate suspension of their driving privileges for motor vehicles.
OPP marine officers continue to patrol Ontario waterways, promoting safety through equipment checks, encouraging paddlers and small craft operators to wear their lifejackets and focusing on alcohol enforcement and deterring reckless behaviours.