Speed / Alcohol

Operate at a safe speed

small powerboat causing excessive spray and wake

You may have to stop or turn suddenly to avoid a collision, so operate at a safe speed. When choosing a safe speed consider:

  • The visibility conditions (fog, mist, rain and darkness) and your ability to see ahead
  • The wind, water conditions and currents
  • The manoeuvrability of your boat
  • The traffic density, types of vessels in the area and their proximity
  • The proximity of any navigational hazards (rocks, and tree stumps)

Be especially careful when operating in areas of restricted visibility, such as entering or exiting a fog bank.

Consider the effects your boat’s wake might create while choosing your speed. Your boat’s wake can damage other vessels, docks and the shoreline.

Also, consider other users of the waterway such as swimmers, divers and people aboard small vessels that your wake could cause to capsize. You could be held liable for these damages.

Don’t cruise with booze

stern view of small police boat with two officers at the helm

It is no coincidence that drinking too much and taking to the water leads to dangerous situations. When you drink and boat you are not just a danger to yourself. Operators are responsible for the safety of their guests and should consider other users of the waterway. They must always be prepared and alert.

Besides the possible legal consequences, mixing alcohol and boating is far more dangerous than you may realize. Fatigue, sun, wind and the motion of the boat dull your senses. Alcohol intensifies these effects, leaving you with poorer fine motor skills (for example, hand-eye coordination) and impaired judgement.

Drinking and driving (whether on land or water) is illegal and punishable under the Criminal Code. Convictions for a first offence can result in heavy punishment: penalties are no less than $600, prohibition from operating a vessel could be up to three years and imprisonment could be for life! Provinces and territories have their own rules to determine when alcohol can be consumed or how it can be transported aboard a vessel. Contact your local authorities for more information.

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