South Simcoe police marine unit's Wardrop II

The South Simcoe police marine unit’s Wardrop II was on the water during the long weekend, educating boaters and enforcing the laws on boating and drinking.

Alcohol is a factor in nearly 40% of boating incidents, and many Canadians don’t understand that “stressors” such as sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat can greatly increase the effects of alcohol on the water.

That’s one reason why police services across Canada are participating in the Canadian Safe Boating Council’s Operation Dry Water, to make boaters aware of the risks, and the laws, surrounding alcohol consumption.

Open alcohol containers are only allowed on boats designed to be “residences,” that is, with sleeping facilities, washrooms and cooking facilities. Even then, drinking is allowed only when the boat is at anchor, docked or hard aground, never while it is underway.

In Ontario, drinking and boating laws mirror drinking-and-driving regulations. An impaired boating charge will impact the boater’s rights to drive an automobile.

Operation Dry Water will combine awareness and enforcement.

On Wednesday, South Simcoe police officers joined York Regional Police and the Canadian Safe Boating Council at Lefroy Harbour Resorts to educate the public as to the dangers of drinking and boating, and the remedies that are in place to curb the problem.

“Boating, like driving any other motorized vehicle, is a privilege not a right,” said South Simcoe Deputy Police Chief Andrew Fletcher. “Owners and operators need to respect the laws and abide by them so that we all can enjoy the recreational activities that Lake Simcoe has to offer.”

During Operation Dry Water, police will be conducting spotchecks of vessels on Lake Simcoe, detecting and apprehending boat operators who are under the influence of alcohol. “Water on the water, beer on the pier.”

Source: The Barrie Examiner