Stay dry on the water: OPP target boozing boaters

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CORNWALL, Ontario - It's not just common sense, drinking and driving - or boating - is against the law.

Pictured is an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) cruiser.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported that alcohol was a factor in 42 per cent of the 18 boating fatalities they investigated this season.

The OPP is partnering with the Canadian Safe Boating Council and enforcement agencies across Canada for Operation Dry Water, a national campaign aimed at decreasing incidents of injury and death related to operating a boat while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Officers will be patrolling the waterways this holiday weekend to promote safety through equipment checks, encouraging paddlers and small craft operators to wear their lifejackets and focusing on alcohol enforcement and deterring reckless behaviours.

Impaired boaters will face criminal charges and immediate suspension of their driving privileges for motor vehicles.

This applies whether you're riding in a motorized boat, canoe or any other type of marine vessel while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

In Ontario, the consumption of alcohol by anyone on board any boat underway is unlawful.

Boaters are allowed to have open alcohol only on boats with permanent sleeping, cooking and washroom facilities built into the boat's design and only when those boats are docked or at anchor.

The OPP is also urging boaters and their passengers to wear a life jacket or a personal floatation device (PFD) since a majority of boating fatality victims recovered in OPP marine investigations this season would have likely survived had they been wearing either one.

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