_ (press release) _ Ottawa, ON–Drinking and boating accounts for approximately 40% of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways. To raise awareness and reduce alcohol related deaths, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) – working with the Ottawa Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) and the Sûreté du Québec– are launching year 4 of an initiative called “Operation Dry Water” in the Ottawa-Gatineau area to discourage this dangerous practice.
With the summer boating season in high gear, the August 1st long weekend is the perfect time to remind Ottawa-Gatineau area 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.
“The CSBC and area policing partners want to raise attention to the problem of boating under the influence and to remind boaters not to drink and boat,” said Ian Gilson, Director, Canadian Safe Boating Council. “Operation Dry Water will focus on the potential risks of drinking and boating, and remedies that are currently in place to discourage it.”
Federal statutes dictate that, whether or not your craft is motorized, you can be charged with Impaired Operation of a vessel under the Criminal Code of Canada if your blood alcohol level exceeds the .08 threshold. This means you can be charged even if you are impaired while operating a canoe and a judge is able to, upon conviction, suspend your boating privileges. But that’s not all; it can get worse. In Ontario, upon conviction of having a blood alcohol concentration above .08, the offender can lose his/her automobile driver’s license for up to a year.
“Operation Dry Water is aimed at reducing the number of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities on the water while fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use while boating,” added Ian Gilson. “The end goal is to achieve safer and more enjoyable recreational boating for all.”
_ The Operation Dry Water initiative is made possible through support of Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety. For a 30-second PSA and additional information on boating safety please visit _ _ www.csbc.ca _ _ under CSBC Safety Campaigns. _