New Brunswick

No drinking and boating: MADD

Police in Rothesay are teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to send a message of caution to boaters.
Police in Rothesay are teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to send a message of caution to boaters.
Rothesay Yacht Club Commodore Ryan Green supports impaired driving signs from MADD and Rothesay Police. ((CBC))

The rules on the road are the same as the rules on the water when it comes to impaired driving.

Operating a vessel — anything from a canoe to a yacht — with a blood alcohol percentage of .08 and above can lead to a fine of more than $1000.

And, it can mean losing the licence to operate any motor vehicle on land, water or air for an entire year.

A second offence can mean 14 days in jail.

What's worse is that impaired boating is one of the leading causes of fatalities on the water.

That's why police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have put up signs at launching ramps.

"The rules of the road are exactly the same, whether you're on a highway, in a parking lot, in a field in an ATV, a boat or an aircraft. Impaired driving is impaired driving. So it would be the same charge, the same penalties," said Sgt. Peter Breen for Rothesay Police.

"Basically the signs that were posted at the boat clubs were to let people know, first of all, to call us if they see someone driving a boat when they're impaired. Secondly, to let boaters know that this is against the law, just as if you're driving your car down the road."

The campaign meets the approval of Rothesay Yacht Club Commodore Ryan Green.

"I know the Office of Boating Safety and the Inshore Rescue Program when they're around visiting in the summer, they have the No Cruise, No Booze placards that they hand out to all the boaters. I think most people go along with it, especially where there's family members involved and children about, they respond well to those kind of suggestions," said Green.

And there's something else to consider — having open liquor on a boat is the same as having open liquor in a car, which carries a provincial fine of $172.50.

The only exception is if the vessel has permanent sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities, and even then, only when the vessel is anchored or tied up in a berth.