Sometimes, the laws surrounding alcohol and boating can seem a bit foggy, but that’s okay because it’s our job to teach you how to boat safely and legally in Canada. It’s important to know what the regulations are in your province and understand the consequences if you do not abide the law. Whether you’re paddling around in Little Limestone lake or letting the wind catch your sails at Victoria Beach, you need to know the rules.
Let’s clear this up. There is NO difference between driving under the influence and boating under the influence, and in Manitoba the penalties are the same for both. On your first offence you will face a minimum fine of $1,000 and once you make it to a second offence, you run the risk of serving jail time as well. Is that fine really worth the beer you were drinking? Second time offenders are given their fine in addition to 14 days in prison, while third time and subsequent offenders face 30 days behind bars. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather just wait till I get back to dry land to drink instead of spending my time in a cell; you definitely can’t enjoy the water from there.
You may ask what if my passengers want to have a few cocktails on the boat? Well captain, you’ll be happy to know that passengers are legally allowed to consume alcohol on a boat, however there are a few requirements to be met. Firstly, as the captain you are responsible for ensuring that all these conditions are met, so be sure to determine that your vessel checks out. To drink on a boat in Manitoba it must be equipped with permanent cooking facility, sleeping cabin and toilet; also your boat MUST be anchored. These requirements are the same throughout Canada, so even if you make a trip out to Ontario or BC to go boating, you need to be aware of the same rules. Keep in mind that in Manitoba it is also illegal to transport any open alcohol on a boat. That means before you bring in your anchor and head back to shore passengers must be done their drinks. For more information, contact Manitoba’s RCMP.
You should never risk the safety of your passengers and loved ones, especially when the rules are so easy to follow. Tell your passengers that once the anchor’s down, bottoms up and reward yourself for being a safe and responsible captain with a beer on the pier once you’re home.