Fines for operating a boat while impaired can be pretty hefty and can lead to jail time.
Operating a boat is different than driving a car, but some rules for operating a boat in Quebec are very similar to the rules of the road — especially when it comes to drinking and driving.
During the weekend of July 30 to August 1, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) "intensified their interventions on the various bodies of water" in the province, specifically targeting impaired driving, leading to 10 arrests made and 11 statements of offence issued.
"Although it is not prohibited in Quebec to consume alcohol onboard a boat, even a motorboat, boaters who consume alcohol significantly increase the risk of death or injury and may be subject to penalties under the Criminal Code," the SQ wrote in a press release.
Fines can be steep for anyone who decides to operate a vessel while impaired. On a first offence, you could be fined a minimum of $1,000. On a second offence, the penalty includes a minimum of 30 days in jail. On a third or subsequent offence, this is raised to at least 120 days in jail.
The SQ warned the public that "alcohol consumption accounts for 40 percent of all boating accidents, according to the CSBC."
"For their own safety, boaters are advised to avoid drinking alcohol while on the water, as factors such as sun, wind and the movement of a boat under the effects of waves can intensify the effects of alcohol while on the water. Moreover, the consumption of alcohol and drugs constitutes risks for the passengers of the boat. Alcohol and drugs can cause distractions for boat operators and drownings."