Boozing and boating don’t mix

Most know by now drinking and driving don’t mix. But a lot fewer seem to have gotten the message about boozing and boating.

Most know by now drinking and driving don’t mix.

But a lot fewer seem to have gotten the message about boozing and boating.

Stettler RCMP Sgt. Duncan Babchuk regularly patrols Buffalo Lake with his boat and is seeing the same poor choices made over and over.

“This our second year for the boat out on the lake here and we’re finding a lot of liquor on board,” he said.

He routinely finds open cans of beers and coolers full of extras, sometimes right next to the cans of pop and juice for the children on board.

“Unless you’re living on that boat, that’s a no no,” said Babchuk.

No alcohol is allowed on boats unless it is outfitted with a toilet, permanent berth and galley. Even then, it has to be at the dock or anchored.

Boaters caught with booze will be directed to shore to dump their stash.

Babchuk said many boaters don’t see it in the same light as driving a car or truck, even though the penalties are the same. The same goes for personal watercraft, snowmobiles, planes or any other motorized vehicle.

“They don’t equate operating a boat, which is a motor vehicle, to driving a car,” he said. “I think there is a big learning curve that has to be worked on.”

He spent six hours on the water on Canada Day and issued eight tickets, mostly for liquor offences.

It may come as a surprise to some boaters that getting caught driving impaired could cost you your driver’s licence for a year or more — the same as if you were pulled over on a road.

Babchuk has a roadside screening device that he can take out on the water to check boaters. If over the limit, they are hauled back to shore, charged and given a court date.

The only laws that don’t apply are provincial measures such as automatic licence suspensions.

Legislation on the water is a complicated web of jurisdictions. The Criminal Code, Alberta Liquor and Gaming Act and federal boating regulations can all be applied depending on circumstances.

Whatever the charge or ticket though, boaters breaking the rules can expect to dig deep into their pockets.

Boating with an open can of beer is an automatic $115 fine. Consuming alcohol while driving a boat means a $287 ticket.

Not licensing a boat is a $250 fine. Not having enough life jackets is a $200 penalty, plus $100 for every life jacket missing, as well as an automatic court date. On the positive side, he has not found many cases where boats don’t have the proper safety equipment on board this year.

Babchuk has little patience for those claiming ignorance of the law. Everything anyone needs to know about boating regulations is easily available online and the laws have been around for a long time.

For more information on boating regulations go to Transport Canada’s site at

Just Posted

RCMP seek suspect in Rimbey armed robbery

Rimbey Liquor Store was robbed at gunpoint about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday

Rimbey RCMP searching for suspects in break and enter spree

Rimbey RCMP are looking for a pair of culprits behind five break… Continue reading

Stolen vehicle and gun seized in Blackfalds

Blackfalds man to appear in court

Blood moon over Red Deer

Moon captures attention

China grants Ivanka Trump 5 trademarks amid trade talks

SHANGHAI — The Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read