Lifesaving Society urging people to boat sober this August long weekend

With the long weekend around the corner, the Lifesaving Society is launching year six of an initiative called ‘Operation Dry Water,’ stressing the importance of boating sober.

Across the country, alcohol is a factor in nearly 40 per cent of boating incidents and according to the 2017 Saskatchewan Drowning Report, alcohol is linked to 74 per cent of boating fatalities in the province.

“We’ve had people run over by boats or we’ve had boat collisions and that’s because people are drinking and they aren’t aware of their circumstances or their environment,” CEO of the Lifesaving Society Saskatchewan Branch, Shelby Rushton said.

READ MORE: MADD campaign targets impaired boating

With several boaters out enjoying the water this weekend, Rushton said it’s a perfect time to remind people about the risks of boating impaired.

“If you are charged with boating impairment, you could lose your drivers license as well and you could be charged even if you’re in a man-powered vessel like your kayak or canoe you could also be charged criminally just for that,” Rushton said.

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For avid boater Bob Poley and his wife, they’re spending the weekend fishing at Regina Beach and Poley says it’s not a risk they’re willing to take.

“You put your life in your hands out there because things happen pretty quick if somebody falls off or gets into distress and combined with alcohol not a good combination,” Poley said.

While there are many vessels where drinking isn’t allowed, boaters are reminded that open alcohol is only allowed on boats that are designed to be residence, with sleeping facilities, a washroom and cooking facility. Even so, drinking is only allowed when that boat is anchored or docked.