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Old 11-05-2007, 06:08   #1
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Exclamation Boats, booze and the law (Cdn)

One of the questions I get asked quite frequently, when people find out I'm in the Canadian Coast Guard is "Is it ok to drink onboard my boat?" and I must say that I'm not directly involved in any boating safety regulatory program, that was moved to Transport Canada a few years ago. But it is something of a real "grey" area, truly, as you'll see in this excellent article from Pacific Yachting Magazine.

Pacific Yachting Magazine - Boats, Booze and the Law
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:40   #2
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In Ontario and patrolled Canadian waters by Ontario police, it is unlawfull for anyone to drink on board unless moored for the night, at your permanent mooring or docked. This does not mean you can drop the hook for an hour lunch with a bottle of Beaujolais.

The same alcohol blood levels apply to boating as motor vehicles and if you are charged while boating, it is registered against your drivers licence - you can lose your drivers licence because of it.

I learned about these laws when they first changed years ago while undersail and the Mounties had responsibility at that time for enforcement, they boarded me with no warning or request and charged one of my guests and confiscated about $500.00 worth of booze - everything on board - even in the booze locker. This was when the laws were brand new and there was alot of disinformation and the cops were taking advantage of that fact. I thought that only the skipper could not imbibe while underway

I found out afterwards that they committed several breaches of procedure - they cannot board without permission, they can only confiscate the drink type that is being drank - ie beer or bottle of rum - not everything on board and they have to give a receipt for everything they take which you can get back later after the fine is paid.

I'm sure they had a good time drinking my booze that weekend. And alot of you think that Canada is the land of freedom? I have never drank while in command and and I'm all for preventing drunk boaters operating out there where serious danger exists but this incident is another example of abuse of powers given to some authorities with which general law abiding citizens have to contend with.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:58   #3
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Sort of like the rule's in OZ.

The extra bit here is not being on the piss while in "Command of a vessel".

I was told it meant that even when safely anchored for the night, I could still get nicked for pissy driving, as I may have to move during the night due to weather, so even while asleep, I am in "command of a vessel"

Same as a car. You can't sleep it off in a car over here.

The cop's said that they won't hassle you in a boat at anchor unless you are drawing attention to yourself.

Don't know if I could believe them.

I should be right, the cop's only seem to ever be in busy ancorages, or near resort's, which I am not.

And in all fairness they are usually after idiot's.

Wednesday afternoon races were a bit of a worry here as it was alway's a pissy race [ in moderation of course ] with a bottle of rum for the prize, and anyone wanting a ride on my boat, well, a bottle of rum admition.[ it'd be rude not to drink it ]

Alway's worried comming in through the lead's as an occasional inflatable full of Wollaper's would be on the hunt, and i'm not sure if they would accept if Pontius [ the autopilot] was in charge.

Dave.

Note: this is a short race, no spinnaker, in no more than 25 knot's usually with 50 other boat's nearby.

In no way do I up the piss while offshore or delivering.
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Old 15-05-2007, 21:12   #4
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See next Multuihull world, I have written an article, that reflects on the Qld law.
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Old 17-05-2007, 03:53   #5
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Driving while impaired by alcohol or a drug is a criminal offence that can result in severe penalties – the maximum penalty, in Canada, is life imprisonment when the offence causes the death of another person.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a generic term for a series of offences under the Canadian Criminal Code. The main offences are operating a motor vehicle while the ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug, contrary to section 253(a) of the Canadian Criminal Code, and operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, (.08%) contrary to section 253(b) of the Criminal Code.

In addition to the federal criminal laws, all provincial governments have enacted their own measures against impaired driving.

Canadian Criminal Code
PART VIII: OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON AND REPUTATION
Motor Vehicles, Vessels and Aircraft

Operation while impaired
Section 253:
Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or

(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood (.08%)

See also, proposed changes to the Canadian Criminal Code:

Bill C-32: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving)
Prepared by: Laura Barnett (20 December 2006)
Bill C-32: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (LS-543E)
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Old 17-05-2007, 05:08   #6
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Hi Factor.
What is Multihull World. Is it a mag or website.

Tks
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Old 17-05-2007, 07:21   #7
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Here in Florida, BUIs (Boating Under the Influence) are prosecuted the same as a DUI. A guy at the marina was driving Christmas and was pulled and ticketed. He had two previous DUIs (many, many years ago). But no citations on the water. He has a 100-ton license. He is going to jail for 180 days.
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Old 17-05-2007, 12:41   #8
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So if l am in command and control of my vessel and others on board are not required for the operation or control of the vessel,they may partake when underway???
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Old 17-05-2007, 16:36   #9
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Wind Rose - see my first post - the answer is no - no one can drink underway and only if moored for the night or at your permanent mooring.

Operating your boat if over .08 alcohol and you will lose your drivers licence for a year. Cuase an accident or injury while under the influence - over .08 while boating and in addition receive criminal charges appropriate to the severity of the damage as well..
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Old 17-05-2007, 16:59   #10
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In Ontario perhaps

In BC Ive been boarded by the RCMP for a compliance check and in Washington state by the USCG both times there was open liquor...drinks and beer in the galley area and on the dinette.Our guests and the better half were having a drink ...But where I was on the bridge there was no alcohol at all in fact I was drinking coffee on both occasions.Both times They asked if I was drinking ...I wasnt ...and that was the end of it.They continued on with their check and then they left happy.
So there is obviously different laws in play...In Alberta and BC it is legal to have open liquor in a parked or moving motorhome as long as it is in the living area component of the motorhome not the drivers area ,and not being consumed by the driver....so likely that extends to boats that are big enough to live aboard.
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Old 17-05-2007, 17:25   #11
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Wind Rose sails out of Toronto - which is in Ontario therefor the answer was to his circumstances only and there is no perhaps about it - they will charge you period - there is no tolerance.

Different provices may have different laws or maybe you had a nice water cop who didn't enforce but I suggest you find out what the BC laws are for certain before possibly getting charged due to lack of knowledge.
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Old 17-05-2007, 19:00   #12
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Thats what Im saying ...different provinces DO have different laws regarding drinking....In BC impaired it is over .05 in Alberta its over .08. for example

Out here No cop worth his salt is going to charge some passenger on a liveaboard 36 motor yacht for having a beer , While the captain is sober as a judge ... unless it is some raging party barge.
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Old 04-06-2007, 20:03   #13
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BC is .08 not .05 as stated in the above post.
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Old 05-06-2007, 00:04   #14
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I stand corrected....must have been drinking.....

....however laws regarding consumption etc...do differ from province to province
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Old 05-06-2007, 08:06   #15
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We were boarded in Florida by the USCG in 2001 while anchored in a 34 sailboat having sundowners (well, it was about 4:00 PM, but we called them sundowners). It was a routine safety check, we passed, and the Coasties were very nice and professional. They told us not to plan on launching the dingy any time soon.
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