MADD Canada

July 31, 2017 13:00 ET

The Canadian Safe Boating Council and MADD Canada Team Up to Remind Canadians that Impaired Boating IS Impaired Driving

OAKVILLE, ON--(Marketwired - July 31, 2017) - Drinking and boating accounts for approximately 40% of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways. To raise awareness and reduce alcohol-related boating deaths, MADD Canada is joining the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) in its "Operation Dry Water" initiative.

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

"Just as alcohol affects one's ability to drive a car, it also affects one's ability to operate a boat," said MADD Canada National President Patricia Hynes-Coates. "It affects your judgement, your motor skills, your reaction times, and it accelerates hypothermia. Together with the Canadian Safe Boating Council, we are reminding Canadians that boating while impaired can have tragic results. Let's all work together to keep our lakes and waterways safe."

"Working together with MADD Canada and other partners, Operation Dry Water focuses on raising awareness about the dangers of drinking and boating, and the laws in place to discourage it," said John Gullick, Chair of the CSBC. "Our end goals are to reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities on the water, foster a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use while boating and achieve safer and more enjoyable recreational boating."

Operating a boat while impaired is just as illegal as driving a vehicle while impaired. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is an offence to operate a vessel when impaired by alcohol or drugs, or when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the legal federal limit of .08%. In addition to having your boating privileges suspended, you can also have your driver's license suspended and face fines. On second and subsequent offences, offenders can face jail time. Many provinces and territories also have their own administrative impaired driving laws. Some jurisdictions, for example, have .05% BAC laws for drivers, and those laws may also apply to boaters. That means you may face suspension of your driver's license and other sanctions if you operate your boat with a BAC of .05% or higher.

Operation Dry Water is made possible through support of Transport Canada's Office of Boating Safety.

The Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety also supports MADD Canada's safe boating initiatives, including the placement of 900 Report Impaired Boaters - Call 911 signs at harbours, marinas and boat launches across the country and the production of posters, public service announcements and other materials to highlight the dangers of impaired boating.

Contact Information

  • For further information contact:

    Ian Gilson
    Canadian Safe Boating Council
    (905) 719-5152

    Deb Kelly
    MADD Canada
    1-800-665-6233, ext 240