Drinking and Boating
Boating is a great summertime activity. Whether you sail, use a jet-ski, or go motor-boating, a day on the water in the sun is almost always better than a day on land.
While boating is a great activity, the operation of a boat comes with significant responsibilities. Many boats are getting faster and more powerful. They need an operator that is trained, alert, and operating without having consumed alcohol or drugs in order to respond to and avoid hazards as they arise.
Unfortunately, drinking and boating remains an issue on the lakes and waterways of Ontario. Many boaters do not know the consequences of drinking and boating.
From a criminal perspective, a driver who is convicted of impaired operation of a boat, including a canoe, kayak, sailboat or motorboat, faces the same consequences as someone who is driving a car. They can lose their Ontario Driver’s License and face significant fines or even time in jail.
If you were involved in a collision while operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and the passengers on your boat or another boat were injured, additional criminal penalties would apply.
In addition to the criminal consequences of drinking and boating, there are potential civil law consequences. You can be sued for injuries caused to your passengers or passengers of other boats. While the law typically limits claims arising out of personal injuries sustained in boat collisions to $1,000,000.00 for each boat involved, in the case where reckless behavior, such as drinking, is involved there is no such limitation. A significant lawsuit could put your home, cottage, or other assets at risk.
Drinking and boating is never worth the risk. Boat sober and enjoy a happy and safe boating season.
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