Drinking & Boating in BC

There’s few things more relaxing than being out on the water, soaking in the sunshine and the beautiful views around you. It’s only natural to want to sit back and crack open a cold beer or pour a glass of wine and enjoy your surroundings.

But make sure you know the laws on alcohol and boating before you reach for that drink. Did you know that in British Columbia the fines and penalties for drinking and boating are the same as operating a car while under the influence? That’s no joke. Even if it’s your first offence, operating a boat with a BAC over 0.08 could mean a fine of at least $600.

What about if you’re anchored or at the dock and not operating the boat? Even then, you need to make sure you know the law. If your vessel doesn’t have permanent sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities it’s illegal to consume alcohol on it at any time (unless you have a special event permit) and, if you’re caught, you could have your liquor seized and a fine of $230 on your hands.

Drinking and boating can also affect your insurance. All insurance policies exclude coverage if the vessel is being used for an illegal act. Since drinking and boating is illegal, this means that if you’re in an accident and you’re found to have been drinking you could have no insurance. Not only will your boat not be repaired but if somebody was injured you could be on the hook for their medical treatments and other costs.

It’s clear – drinking and boating just isn’t worth it. So be safe and follow the rules to make sure that you have the best time on the water.