The boating season is well underway and I see that boating traffic is increasing daily. It may be worthwhile getting some information out regarding the regulations on boating. Much of this information is covered under Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety which can be found at www.tc.gc.ca.
The big question we often field is, “Can we have alcohol on a boat?” The short answer is yes but if you stop reading here you’ll likely end up getting it wrong. There are some very strict conditions where alcohol may be consumed on a boat, for example the boat must first be secured or anchored alongside a dock. The dock part is important because we can’t have someone anchored in the middle of a lake drinking when a storm kicks up and they need to get mobile quickly.
The boat must also have a permanent sleeping, cooking, and washroom facility built into the structure. Sleeping bags, a port-a-potty and a hibachi don’t meet the requirements as they are not permanent fixtures on the boat. Impairment on a boat is exactly the same offence as in an automobile and you’d end up with a minimum $1000 fine and a criminal record which would certainly put a damper on your weekend plans. Some other items for consideration are speed restrictions while close to shore; for example, in Alberta you must observe a speed limit of 10 km/h when your vessel is within 30 metres from shore.
Additionally, you must have what’s called a Pleasure Craft Operator Card with you while you are boating in Alberta. Life jackets are required for each and every passenger and must be in the boat and accessible. Lastly, depending on the size of your vessel you do need certain devices on board like baling devices, horns or whistles, flares, anchors, life rings, etc. Again, those regulations are boat specific so you should have a look at the Transport Canada website to determine your specific requirements.
Boats can be a lot of fun but they can bring a measure of danger if they are not used properly. If you have any questions please give us a call. Stay Safe. – S/Sgt Luis Gandofi
*Cop Corner is written and provided by S/Sgt Luis Gandolfi with the Bonnyville RCMP Detachment. It has not been altered from the author’s original content.