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Old 15-04-2016, 08:32   #1
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North Channel Regulatory Q's

Hi all,

I have a Catalina 22 that I'm hoping to sail in the North Channel for a week this summer. I have a couple of legal/regulatory questions with regard to Booze and Toilets.

I understand you are not allowed to have beer on a boat in Ontario unless it has a head with a deck fitting.

I also understand a head with a deck fitting is the only type of toilet system allowed in Ontario.

I'm a Yank so I'll need to cross the border. I can either sail from Saginaw Bay across the big lake to the North Channel or trailer it to Gore Bay.

My questions:

1. Do I need to install a head with a deck fitting to avoid a fine?
2. Anyone know the fine amounts?
3. How likely would I be to get fined?
4. And most importantly since I'm a wuss and will likely follow the rules, how big of a pain is installing a head with a deck fitting?
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Old 15-04-2016, 09:28   #2
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

I would have said a portable toilet would suffice, but some Canadian bureaucrats are eco-terrorists.

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafet...sitor-1610.htm

I cruised the North Channel for 3 weeks and never saw a single patrol boat.
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Old 15-04-2016, 09:38   #3
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

As I understand it, you are correct, porta potties are not permitted on boats in Ontario.

This phone won't let me post links, so Google www.TC.GC.CA/eng/Marine safety.

Transport Canada is the regulator, the Ontario Provincial Police is the local law enforcement agency.

Impaired Boating comes with $1000 fine for first offences.

One point is it is the consumption of alcohol that is not permitted without a toilet and cooking facilities, the carraige of alcohol is permitted.

Unfortunately installing a permanent head is a bit of a pain in the neck.

If you're drinking responsibly at dock or anchor, it's unlikely you will be bothered, but the law is the law. Consumption of alcohol under way is not permitted on pleasure craft in Ontario.

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Old 15-04-2016, 10:06   #4
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

You don't state it, but I assume you carry a portapotti CamHair.

Agree with Ungvar's summary. I'm a Canadian so don't have the border crossing issues to deal with while in the North Channel. But I have never, NEVER, heard of anyone (Citizen or foreigner alike) being charged with the offence of not having the proper head installation. Heck, I've never even been asked about my head, let alone having it inspected. And technically, I'm not in compliance either b/c we have a composting head.

Perhaps if you're being an idiot, and do something to give the cops cause to investigate, then they might write you up on this violation as well. But in all my years on the Great Lakes (over a decade now), I have never even heard of someone's head being inspected. Not saying it can't happen, but it appears extremely rare to me.

BTW, in Ontario you can drink while at anchor. I've been surprised to learn that in some US States this is not legal. In Canada you can drink once the boat is affixed to land. Docking and/or anchoring is considered being affixed to shore.
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Old 15-04-2016, 10:26   #5
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

In 40 years never had my toilet checked.


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Old 15-04-2016, 11:10   #6
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

I'm a Canadian trailer-sailor, living in Ontario.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CamHair View Post
I understand you are not allowed to have beer on a boat in Ontario unless it has a head with a deck fitting.
The Ontario regs as I understand it: if your boat is set up for "habitation" (place to sleep, fixed head with pumpout, some means of cooking) and you're docked/moored... you may consume alcohol aboard. Anchoring may be a gray area - an anchored boat is still "under control" of the skipper and might need to be moved at a moment's notice. I haven't seen this tested.

Drinking in a boat underway...bad news if you're caught, and they do police this fairly aggressively.

Quote:
I also understand a head with a deck fitting is the only type of toilet system allowed in Ontario.
The regs. Additionally, no overboard discharge is permitted anywhere in Ontario (and in the US part of the Great Lakes as well, I believe)

In our boat we have this head. Basically, it's a porta-potti with a hose fitting plumbed to a deck fitting. Yes we have pumped out from it. It's always fun to pull up to the pump-out dock for our 40 seconds of applied suction. To make it a more involved process, I'll usually refill the head with water then pump out once or twice more.

I can also (covertly) cart the detachable tank to a public washroom and empty it into a toilet. People don't like it if they see you do it... but one way or another it's going where it belongs, and not into the lake.

Quote:
I'm a Yank so I'll need to cross the border. I can either sail from Saginaw Bay across the big lake to the North Channel or trailer it to Gore Bay.
One of the plusses of trailersailing is that you can drive close to your desired sailing grounds - 4 hours of driving vs 2+ days of endurance sailing.

The Trailer/Sailors Association heads up to the North Channel every summer. By all accounts it's a great time and of course they're a good source of info about sailing up there.

Quote:
My questions:

1. Do I need to install a head with a deck fitting to avoid a fine?
2. Anyone know the fine amounts?
3. How likely would I be to get fined?
4. And most importantly since I'm a wuss and will likely follow the rules, how big of a pain is installing a head with a deck fitting?
If you get one of the "MSD" rated porta-pottis, then you just have to buy the deck fitting and a piece of sanitation hose to complete. If you're going to do alot of cruising, a pumpout is pretty handy to have.

I have not heard of any trailer-sailor being prosecuted for the head thing, though I've heard they can big sticklers about this in the larger ports, and with larger yachts who haven't set and locked their Y-valve.
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Old 15-04-2016, 11:17   #7
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

Should be noted that if you are arrested and convicted for impaired boat operation you also lose your automobile drivers licence. This has nothing to do with your question just some info to remember that the drinking and driving rules also apply while operating a vessel.
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Old 15-04-2016, 11:51   #8
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

You can drink at anchor, I haven't recently because I have a kid on board, but I sure used to.

For anyone familiar with the Potahawk Piss Up in Long Point Bay, there are dozens of boats anchored with youth drinking heavily. The event and others like it are heavily patrolled by OPP, RCMP and the Coast Guard. I've never seen them check heads or galleys though.

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Old 16-04-2016, 04:35   #9
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Cam.
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Old 16-04-2016, 06:08   #10
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

Unless you have contained waste, and some sort of cooking facilities, you cannot even have alcohol on board. I know many runabout power boaters who have been boarded and charged even though they weren't drinking. Just had some beer on board. I have never been boarded or even asked anything while sailing. The cops seem to be more concerned about the high speed power boats. We have done the North Channel a number of times and have yet to see any authorities there. We have an MSD portapottty with a deck pumpout.
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Old 16-04-2016, 07:15   #11
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

Quote:
Originally Posted by chp View Post
Unless you have contained waste, and some sort of cooking facilities, you cannot even have alcohol on board. I know many runabout power boaters who have been boarded and charged even though they weren't drinking. Just had some beer on board. I have never been boarded or even asked anything while sailing. The cops seem to be more concerned about the high speed power boats. We have done the North Channel a number of times and have yet to see any authorities there. We have an MSD portapottty with a deck pumpout.
Are you sure about this? Can you provide a link to legislation? Or even police or TC Boating guidance materials? What about the hundreds of cottages and island residents who use their run abouts for beer runs, cruising yachts who use there dinghies for beer runs, canoe trips who wait until their tent site to get the party started. Under what authority does the search and seizure take place? What about all the week enders out there with alcohol stoves?

I am quite certain this is an erroneous statement.

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Old 16-04-2016, 08:36   #12
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ungvar View Post
Are you sure about this? Can you provide a link to legislation? Or even police or TC Boating guidance materials? What about the hundreds of cottages and island residents who use their run abouts for beer runs, cruising yachts who use there dinghies for beer runs, canoe trips who wait until their tent site to get the party started. Under what authority does the search and seizure take place? What about all the week enders out there with alcohol stoves?

I am quite certain this is an erroneous statement.
I concur. I assume the law would apply to OPEN liquor. Just like in a car, it is technically illegal to transport open liquor, but properly sealed is fine. So too with boats.

Lets face it, this ban on consuming booze in small boats is mostly aimed at the weekend-warrior fishing boat crowd who likes to roar around in small (or not so small) boats. These are the folks these laws are aimed at. Sailboats, cruising power boats, and people behaving sensibly are very unlikely to be accosted by Canadian authorities in Canadian waters, especially in more remote areas like the North Channel.
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Old 16-04-2016, 09:03   #13
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

I looked into the head question extensively as a US citizen planning on visiting the NC with a composting head. I talked with a Canadian official who unequivocally said that if the boat is legal in its home water of the US then it will be legal for the purposes of a trip to Canada. Your head may not be legal for an Ontario citizen, but you can still visit from the US.

You might liken this to a more restrictive auto emissions law. You can still take your car to Canada.

As for the beer...I can't help there. But regardless of the law, please don't operate while under the influence.
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Old 16-04-2016, 10:10   #14
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

Quote:
Originally Posted by chp View Post
Unless you have contained waste, and some sort of cooking facilities, you cannot even have alcohol on board. I know many runabout power boaters who have been boarded and charged even though they weren't drinking. Just had some beer on board.
As with the other posters, I'm pretty sure you can transport alcohol in any boat as long as there's no open containers. If it's a tin boat or a runabout with a bunch of young guys and a half-empty case of beer, the police can guess what's going on, but a cruiser with some stowed alcohol won't be an issue.
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Old 16-04-2016, 10:42   #15
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Re: North Channel Regulatory Q's

32 - CONVEYING LIQUOR IN VEHICLE, BOAT

Conveying liquor in vehicle, boat
(1) No person shall drive or have the care or control of a motor vehicle as defined in the Highway Traffic Act or a motorized snow vehicle, whether it is in motion or not, while there is contained in the vehicle any liquor, except under the authority of a licence or permit. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (1).
Exception
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the liquor in the vehicle,
(a) is in a container that is unopened and the seal unbroken; or
(b) is packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (2).
Conveying liquor in boat
(3) No person shall operate or have the care or control of a boat that is underway while there is contained in the boat any liquor, except under the authority of a licence or permit. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (3).
Exception
(4) Subsection (3) does not apply if the liquor in the boat,
(a) is in a container that is unopened and the seal unbroken; or
(b) is stored in a closed compartment. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (4).
Search of vehicle or boat
(5) A police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that liquor is being unlawfully kept in a vehicle or boat may at any time, without a warrant, enter and search the vehicle or boat and search any person found in it. R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (5).
Definitions
(6) In this section,
boat
boat includes any ship or boat or any other description of vessel used or designed to be used in the navigation of water; ("bateau")
police officer
police officer includes a conservation officer. ("agent de police") R.S.O. 1990, c. L.19, s. 32 (6); 2006, c. 34, s. 16 (47).
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