ORILLIA, ON, July 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Over the Civic Day Long Weekend (August 1-3, 2015), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and other marine enforcement partners are teaming up for Operation Dry Water, a national campaign that aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that result from operating a boat while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Led by the Canadian Safe Boating Council, the campaign will have the OPP focusing its marine patrol program on reinforcing the message "NEVER boat under the influence".
Operating a boat in Ontario while impaired by alcohol or drugs comes with the same consequences as driving a vehicle while impaired. This means that impaired boat operators not only face criminal charges but will also have their driving privileges for motor vehicles immediately suspended. Boaters also face the same Warn Range suspensions as motor vehicle drivers whose BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level is between the .05 and .08 range.
While the OPP was pleased to see Ontario boating fatalities reach a ten-year low in 2014, marine officers consider even one boating death as one too many. Liquor laws in Ontario do not permit consumption of alcohol by anyone on any recreational boat, except for watercraft with permanent features (cooking, washroom and sleeping facilities) and only once they are docked or at anchor.
"Whether you are at the cottage, cruising, fishing, or paddling, we all have a role to play to ensure our time on the water is safe and enjoyable for everyone," said Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, Commander of the Highway Safety Division. "Influence your family and friends to take the booze out of boating and to report impaired boat operators to police."
Over and above its focus on alcohol and drug impaired boaters and other reckless behaviour on the water, OPP marine members promote safety through equipment checks. They encourage the wearing of personal floatation devices - particularly for paddlers and small craft operators, as many fatal boating incidents over the years have involved small motorized vessels as well as canoes and kayaks.
Get on board...don't drink and boat!
Operation Dry Water
SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police
For further information: Contacts by OPP Region: Highway Safety Division: Sergeant Kerry Schmidt, Phone: (416) 460-4701; Central Region: A/Sgt. Lynda Cranney, Phone: (705) 330-3738; East Region: Sergeant Kristine Rae, Phone: (613) 285-2750; Northwest Region: Sergeant Shelley Garr, Phone: (807) 473-2734; North East Region: Sergeant Carolle Dionne, Phone: (705) 845-2738; West Region: Sergeant Dave Rektor, Phone: (519) 652-4156