Saskatchewan RCMP remind the public to practice sober operation of boats and watercraft this summer

Saskatchewan – With warm temperatures this August long weekend, we’re forecasting some increased activity out on the water. There is no better way to spend the day on Saskatchewan’s great lakes and rivers than in a boat – where Saskatchewan RCMP officers and Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers will be too!

This summer, Saskatchewan RCMP has teamed up with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and SGI to remind all boaters that being impaired and operating a boat shares similar consequences as the impaired operation of a vehicle. The laws regarding operating power boats and being in control of such a vessel while your ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or other substance is illegal.

Both the RCMP and Ministry Conservation Officers have the authority to enforce alcohol regulations to ensure everyone’s safety.

Officer conducting boat patrol
(RCMP) Officer conducting boat patrol.

Saskatchewan RCMP officers from in and around resort and lake communities spend a lot of time on the water patrolling to ensure everyone is boating safely and following provincial regulations. The vast majority of incidents that officers encounter on the water are resolved by educating members of the public about potential enforcement consequences resulting from impaired operation of boats and watercrafts.

Ministry Conservation Officers conduct regular boat patrols to check anglers and are frequently asked about consuming alcohol while operating the boat or as a passenger. Boats are considered a public place, so open liquor is not allowed for anyone on the boat – whether you’re the operator OR the passenger. This includes pontoon boats. Alcohol slows down your reflexes, impairs your motor skills and judgement. It’s illegal and dangerous. Impaired passengers are at risk of drowning as a result of falling overboard.

Alcohol is only permitted for passengers on an actual houseboat that has plumbed-in sewage, cooking and sleeping facilities. The houseboat MUST be moored to a permanent mooring structure, dock or land.

SGI wants to remind people that it’s never okay to drive impaired, whether you’re behind the wheel of a motor vehicle on your way to or from the lake or captaining a motor boat. And, it’s not just alcohol that can impair you behind the wheel – cannabis and other legal and illegal drugs also impact your judgment, concentration, and ability to react. Whenever you’re in charge of a big piece of machinery like a boat, you need to have a clear head, for your own safety and everyone else sharing the water.

No matter what mode of transportation you choose in the summer, Saskatchewan RCMP, SGI and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment would like to remind you, we all want to enjoy life on the water, and being a smart and sober operator helps to make that a reality. Together, we will continue to keep everyone safe on Saskatchewan waters and roads. If you see someone you suspect is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, contact your local police agency or 911.

For more information:

Safe boating practices and information relating to pleasure craft operations can be found on the Transport Canada website.

Saskatchewan RCMP

Please help spread the word by "sharing" our reports on your social media accounts.