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OPP partnering with Canadian Safe Boating Council ahead of long weekend to raise awareness

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Ahead of the long weekend, the Ontario Provincial Police is partnering with the Canadian Safe Boating Council to launch year five of an initiative called Operation Dry Water to raise awareness and reduce alcohol-related deaths. Drinking and boating accounts for approximately 40 per cent of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways, so the goal is to discourage the dangerous practice of boating while impaired by alcohol. Police say with the summer boating season in high gear, the August long weekend is the perfect time to remind boaters about the risks of impaired boating. Combined with sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat, police say the effects of alcohol on the water can be greatly increased.

Operation Dry Water focuses on the potential risks of impaired boating and opportunities to discourage it. Being charged with Impaired Operation of a boat carries the same consequences as Impaired Operation of a car, and in Ontario that includes a suspension of your vehicle driving privileges. If convicted, a judge could prohibit a person from operating a boat for a period, and the repercussions of a criminal impairment conviction can go far beyond the initial incident.

In Ontario, no alcohol can be consumed by anyone on board while a boat is underway. Only boats with permanent sleeping, cooking and washroom facilities onboard may permit consumption but only when docked or at anchor. Operation Dry Water’s target is to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents and fatalities on the water while fostering education and discussions that promote and create a visible deterrent to alcohol use while boating.

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