P.E.I. RCMP urge boaters to remember impaired driving laws while on the water

·2 min read
P.E.I. RCMP urge boaters to remember impaired driving laws while on the water
Sgt. Chris Gunn says drinking alcohol on a boat with a washroom is permitted while anchored, however, the RCMP doesn't encourage people to have alcohol on a boat. (CBC News: Compass - image credit)
Sgt. Chris Gunn says drinking alcohol on a boat with a washroom is permitted while anchored, however, the RCMP doesn't encourage people to have alcohol on a boat. (CBC News: Compass - image credit)

Prince Edward Island RCMP are urging Islanders to always wear a life jacket while boating and follow boating rules, as this week marks National Drowning Prevention Week.

Last weekend, RCMP arrested a boat operator for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The rules and punishment for impaired driving are the same on land and water, P.E.I. RCMP Sgt. Chris Gunn told CBC's Louise Martin during an interview on CBC News: Compass.

"So operating any motorized vehicle or vessel in Canada comes with the same punishment under the Criminal Code."

Sometimes people forget the penalties are the same, Gunn said. It's one of the reasons RCMP are educating boaters while on patrol.

"Education is a big part of our patrols this summer and getting out, talking to individuals," Gunn said.

"We are checking to ensure that people are safe wearing their life jackets, but are also ensuring that they're operating a vessel safely."

CBC News: Compass
CBC News: Compass

Life jackets are crucial to surviving mishaps on the water, Gunn said.

"Sometimes events happen that we don't plan for, and the critical moments when somebody goes in the water, the life jacket gives us that little extra time that floats us to the surface, to allow us to make a decision and hopefully come out safely."

'Boating and alcohol don't mix'

Although it is lawful to drink in some boats while they're anchored, RCMP doesn't encourage having alcohol on a boat, Gunn said.

"If they have a washroom, a permanent washroom facility on the boat, and a kitchen element that they're allowed to have alcoholic beverages," he said.

"When you have the boat anchored, and have a bathroom, it's more like a residence, so it is permitted. Again, boating and alcohol don't mix so we don't encourage it, but it is lawful in those circumstances."

Gunn hopes Islanders and tourists enjoy the P.E.I. waters safely this summer.

"We're encouraging everyone when they're on the vessel to wear their life jacket at all times, enjoy the sun, and follow the safe practices."

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