Alcohol, Boating, and the Law – What You Have to Know

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Boating in Ontario is a common past-time that is loved by many more so for warmer months when it can feel like there’s not a better feeling than being on the water with a cold beer in hand. Before you get too excited, know that alcohol is frowned upon by the law when boating and more importantly, there are a lot of things you must know regarding the law doesn’t like you mixing boating and alcohol together.

When Are You Boating?

Are you aware that simply floating on a drifting kayak is part of what is considered boating? Vessels include inflatable rafts, sea-doo, dinghy, canoe, sailboat and canoe as defined by S.124 of the Canadian Criminal Code.

When Are You Boating and Drinking?

Being on a vessel (with no one else controlling it) while with a higher than the standard blood alcohol level is penalized with the same severity as committing Driving with Excess Blood Alcohol and Impaired Driving.

What Happens When Caught Boating with Alcohol?

A person on a vessel when stopped by an officer will be arrested for Impaired Operation if the officer perceives that the person in question is not fit to operate a vessel or if the officer has reason to believe that the person has had quite a lot to drink.

In the station, the arrested individual will be asked to provide breath samples into a breathalyzer to determine his or her blood alcohol level. A blood alcohol level that is more than 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters is considered to have committed an Over 80.

Specifics vary widely in terms of what was actually committed and how the arrest was made. The bottomline is, you cannot be ‘in control’ of a vessel and drinking alcohol as well. Barring certain circumstances, it is better for everyone on board to not be drinking to be on the safe side of the law and not get convicted because of a technicality.

For more information on Canadian Law surrounding impaired driving, please visit Calvin Barry's Toronto Law Blog here. Also, follow Calvin on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook here!


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