Facts About Drinking and Boating in Canada
Owning a boat is more affordable than you think. At Pride Marine Group, we have a large selection of used Nautique boats for sale in Ontario that are great for several types of activities. Whether you just want to cruise the open water or prefer to take it to the next level with wakeboarding and water skiing, boating is a fun and exciting activity. Unfortunately, the fun can end if you are caught drinking while operating your boat.
While we are often reminded again and again that driving a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law, many people are unaware that the same goes for boats. In fact, most boaters don’t think even think about it until they get a ticket from a marine police officer. This can easily be avoided by prioritizing boating safety – making sure you have your Canadian boating license, all of the required safety equipment onboard, and leave the alcohol on shore until you get back.
You likely go boating with the people you love and care about. This is another reason to not operate a boat while drinking, as you are risking the safety of your friends and family. Remember, drinking and driving on the water is just asdangerous drinking and driving on the road.
Drinking and Boating in Canada
It is an offense under the Criminal Code of Canada to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are subjected to a breathalyzer or blood test and your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) results are 80mg or more, then you are considered impaired and will be charged. Basically, 80mg = drunk boating. And for good reason – 65% of the boating-related accidents in Canada involve alcohol consumption as a factor.
What Are The Penalties For Drinking and Boating in Canada?
The minimum penalties for being convicted of operating a boat while impaired includes:
- 1st Offence: A minimum fine of $600.
- 2nd Offence: A minimum fine of $600 and at least 14 days in prison.
- 3rd and following Offences: A minimum fine of $600 and at least 90 days in prison
When Can I Legally Consume Alcohol On a Boat in Canada?
As long as you won’t be operating the boat at some point, boat passengers are legally able to consume alcohol while on a boat in Canada; that being said, they can legally drink as long as the boat is equipped with the following:
- Permanent cooking facilities
- Permanent sleeping facilities
- A permanent toilet
- The boat must be anchored or secured alongside a dock.
While a majority of houseboats and yachts will likely meet these conditions, not all types of boats will. As the driver, it’s your responsibility to make sure your boat meets these all of the above requirements before any of your passengers begin drinking.
Penalties in Ontario
The maximum penalties for operating a boat under the influence will vary from province to province. In Ontario, the fines and penalties for driving a boat while impaired are the exact same as the consequences of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Ontario, there isn’t a difference between drunk boating and drunk driving.
In fact, if a boater is convicted for operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Ontario, their driver’s license for their car may be suspended for a minimum of 1 year as well. In addition, they may have an Ontario’s Ignition Interlock Program installed in their car if they are convicted of drunk boating.