Drinking and boating are never a good mix. Now a national campaign is taking aim to increase awareness of the dangers of operating a boat while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Operation Dry Water, which is being launched over the Civic Holiday long weekend (August 3 to 5, 2013) by the Canadian Safe Boating Council, seeks to discourage the practice of drinking and boating on waterways. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is joining the effort made by the council and other marine enforcement partners to promote the message – NEVER boat under the influence.
While the responsibility for enforcing laws on the water belongs to police, the responsibility to ensure our waterways are a safe place to work and play is shared by all boaters. Alcohol and drug impairment continue to be a factor in boating deaths and injuries. Similar to the efforts on our highways, we all have a role to play in boating safety. According to a recent report by the Lifesaving Society Canada, 39 per cent of preventable boating fatalities (2006-2010) involved alcohol consumption. During 2012, the OPP investigated 20 fatal boating incidents and determined that seven involved alcohol or drugs.
“Dealing with drinking and boating is not new for OPP marine officers,” said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, Commander of the Highway Safety Division . “Having the voice of a national campaign, coupled with directed patrols and enforcement, the OPP is optimistic that a new level of boating safety can be achieved.”
Get on board…don’t drink and boat