Out on the water

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Every now and then, we hear about a careless driver who had one too many drinks of alcohol and then got behind the wheel of their vehicle. With any luck, the police spotted this driver and stopped him or her before hurting themselves or others.

While most of us are well aware that it is illegal to drink and drive on our roadways, some of us might not realize the same goes for drinking and boating. That’s right you can be charged if found to be impaired while out on the water.

Impaired driving laws are the same for all types of motorized vehicles whether it’s a car, truck, motorcycle or boat (or even an ATV or a piece of heavy equipment).

The legal limit of alcohol that a person can have in their system has been set at 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. That’s really not all that much, as a person can reach that limit with one or two drinks.

And while common sense tells most of us that drinking alcohol and operating any type of machinery is not a good idea, perhaps not everyone gets that message.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council recently completed a national survey that found that alcohol was a factor in nearly 40 per cent of boating-related deaths, and in 23 per cent alcohol was above the legal limit.

The council also reports that sunshine and a boat’s natural rocking motion can increase the effects of alcohol and thus increase the chances of a tragedy occurring.

Just like a vehicle on the road, operating a boat on the water takes a driver’s full concentration and co-ordination and a driver needs to be able to make split-second decisions to react to sudden changes in the environment. All of this is affected by the consumption of alcohol.

So just like driving on the road if you drink, then don’t drive your boat.

Reprinted from The Georgian

Organizations: Canadian Safe Boating Council

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