Alcohol and Boating

Driving Under the Influence

Boating while impaired is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Operators with more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood are liable to the following fines:

  • 1st offence : at least $600 fine
  • 2nd offence : at least 14 days of imprisonment
  • 3rd offence : at least 90 days of imprisonment

The maximum sentence may vary depending on provincial statutes.

Consumption of Alcohol

In most provinces:
Alcohol may be consumed on board the pleasure craft only if it meets all of the following conditions:

  • The vessel has permanent sleeping facilities
  • The vessel has permanent cooking facilities
  • The vessel has a permanent toilet
  • The vessel is anchored or secured alongside a dock

Check with the appropriate provincial authorities (OPP for Ontario, SQ for Quebec, RCMP for all other provinces and territories) for carriage restrictions.

Shore-Line Speed Restrictions

When boating in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, please observe the unposted speed limit of 10km/h (6 mph) within 30 meters (100 ft) from shore. This limit applies on all waters within these provinces except where other limits are posted. These provisions do not apply in rivers less than 100 meters (300 ft) in width, canals and buoyed channels nor in the case of waterskiing, where the tow boat launches and drops off skiers by heading directly away from or into the shore.

In Quebec, shoreline speed restrictions apply on specific bodies of water and are usually posted.

For more information, consult the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.


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