Shoreline Beacon

July 31, 2020

The Lifesaving Society Manitoba and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Winnipeg have teamed up to keep drivers safe on and off the water this summer, and future summers.

It is unsafe and illegal to drink and drive whether you are in a car or in a boat. To that end, Lifesaving Society Manitoba and MADD Winnipeg are reminding those heading out on this long weekend to play it safe and keep the drinking to the home, cottage, or even the dock.

“If you see a boater you suspect is impaired, call your local police marine unit or 911,” said Trevor Ens of MADD Winnipeg. “Operating a boat while impaired is just as illegal as driving a vehicle while impaired. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is an offence to operate a vessel when impaired by alcohol or drugs, In addition to having your boating privileges suspended, you can also have your driver’s licence suspended and face fines.”

“In recent years we’ve seen it become socially unacceptable to drink and drive your car,” said Lifesaving Society Manitoba Water Smart Coordinator Dr. Christopher Love. “Unfortunately, people still seem to consider it socially acceptable to drink and boat. Driving and boating really are the same. Manitoba’s fatal drownings involving alcohol are higher than the national average. The danger is real.”

“As a retired police officer, I have seen firsthand the avoidable devastation caused by impaired driving,” said David Obirek. “Now that I spend time on the water as an avid angler and fishing writer, the message about drinking and driving needs to be as equally strong on the water as it is on our roadways. It is important for the boating industry to play a significant role in assisting to get this message out and to understand the legal requirements for consuming alcohol on vessels. The days of putting your feet up in your boat fishing or casual cruising with a cold beer on a hot summer day are no longer acceptable.”

Also, another concern is the impact some prescription drugs and recently legalized drugs can have on a person’s ability to safely maneuver vehicles on or off the water. Any form of impairment is unacceptable and poses a huge risk to the lives of both those who are impaired and others who could unknowingly suffer the consequences.

About Lifesaving Society Manitoba

The Lifesaving Society is a full-service provider of programs, products and services designed to prevent drowning. We save lives and prevent water-related injury through our training programs, Water Smart public education, aquatic safety management services, lifesaving sport and water incident research.

Lifesaving Society Manitoba was founded in 1911 and has been proudly saving lives and educating Manitobans about water safety for over 100 years. We train all of Manitoba’s National Lifeguards.