Another long weekend is here and DRPS would like to remind residents to drive and boat safely as they celebrate this weekend.
With the increase in use and abuse of prescription narcotics and the impending legalization of recreational marijuana, DRPS is concerned about the potential impact of boating incidents and fatalities. For the sixth year, DRPS is teaming up with the Canadian Safe Boating Council to reduce impaired boating deaths this August long weekend by launching the "Operation Dry Water" initiative.
Combined with sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat, the effects of alcohol and drugs on the water can be greatly increased. Federal statutes dictate that boaters can be charged with Impaired Operation of a Vessel under the Criminal Code of Canada if they are found to be impaired. Under current and proposed legislation, human-powered craft are not excluded from the definition of a vessel and, so, are subject to the same penalties. A number of provinces have enacted legislation where impaired boating can affect your automobile driving privileges.
The Marine Services Unit will be out in full force on Durham Region's lakes this weekend, conducting safety spot checks to ensure that all vessels have the appropriate navigation and safety equipment on board. Boaters must be carrying the appropriate flotation devices (in the appropriate sizes for passengers on board), ropes, bail cans, flashlights, etc. Accidents can happen in an instant, so it is important (and the law) that you keep these items on board and easily accessible at all times.
It is also important that all licenses and registration documents are carried on board at all times. Boaters should refrain from drinking and boating, and DRPS would like to remind boaters that operating a vessel while impaired carries the same weight as operating a vehicle while impaired, with penalties including fines, a loss of license and jail time.
This weekend will also see an increase in traffic on our roads, and officers are reminding drivers to keep their cool, pay attention to the road, and refrain from drinking and driving. Officers will be targeting the Big Four Killers, and will be watching for impaired, distracted and aggressive drivers, which are a few of the most common factors in motor vehicle collisions. DRPS would also like to remind drivers to check their vehicles before heading out on the road, ensuring that all front and rear lights, wipers, and brakes are in working order, and that all fluid levels are at the appropriate level to ensure a safe operation of your vehicle.
Motorists should be prepared for higher volumes, slower travel times and delays and should avoid risky behaviour behind the wheel. Check your vehicles and vessels before heading out, refrain from consuming alcohol and drugs before getting behind the wheel, and have a fun long weekend!
Check out a few tips from our Marine Unit.
DRPS Marine Unit (JPG file, 345.6K bytes)