Warm weather calls for more time outside. No matter where you find yourself this summer, remember that alcohol/drugs and motor vehicles don’t mix.

Your dirt bike, e-bike, quad, or side by side are motor vehicles and are covered by the impaired driving laws. Boats are also covered by the same impaired driving laws as cars.

It will not matter if you are a first-time boater or a weathered sea captain. If you alleged to have operated a boat while impaired, then you will lose both your drivers license and your boating license.

At the time of charge, an impaired driver is subject to a 90-day automatic license suspension and a 7-day vehicle impoundment. You will lose your boat and your ability to drive home. If convicted of impaired boating you will be subject to the same penalties as an impaired operation of a motor vehicle.

Much like impaired driving, impaired boating is a very technical area of the law.

Here are The Top 5 Tips To Remember:

1. Boats Are Motor Vehicles
Operating a boat while impaired by drugs/alcohol is a criminal offence and subject to the same regulations as impaired driving. A charge will lead to an automatic 90-day drivers license suspension and 7-day vehicle impoundment. A conviction comes with a min. $1000 fine, loss of your DRIVERS license for 1-year, and you will have a criminal record.

2) Illegal To Drink In A Motor Vehicle = Illegal To Drink On Your Boat
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, to legally drink on your boat, the vessel must be equipped with a permanent toilet, permanent cooking facilities, and at least one permanent sleeping area. The vessel must also be anchored or docked.

3) Impaired Driving Legislation Covers All Watercrafts  
Canoes, kayaks, paddle boards/boats, and inflatable rafts are all covered under the impaired driving legislation. Having drinks on any of these floatation devices can lose you your drivers license and have your car impounded. These laws are set to change when the new impaired driving laws come into effect by way of the legalization of marijuana. However, in the meantime, impaired canoeing is still a criminal offence.

4) Operating the Boat Makes You Responsible.
The person operating the boat is responsible for the people that it is towing. However, water sports require an additional responsible person to supervise the people being towed (i.e. water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc.) Failure to have another responsible person in addition to the operator when persons are being towed is a criminal offence. It is also a criminal offence to tow a person one hour after sunset and one before sunrise.

5) Criminal Code Driving Offences Also Apply to Boat Operators
Most criminal offences outlined as criminal code driving offences also apply to boat operators. I.e. A dangerous operation, failing to remain at the scene of a collision, and joyride are all criminal offences that also apply to boat operators. Additionally, if you are a disqualified or suspended driver, you cannot operate a boat.

Responsible boating should always be the priority, but if you or someone you know has made an irresponsible decision they need a law firm that will fight to ensure that one mistake does not follow them for the rest of their life.

Millars Law is that law firm. Please don’t hesitate to call and set up an appointment with our impaired driving defense team to see what we can do for you.

(519) 657-1LAW or Info@millarslaw.com


By Nick Cake