Ontario Newsroom

Stay Safe On The Water

Archived News Release

Stay Safe On The Water

McGuinty Government Says Common Sense Key To Boating Safety

Ministry of the Solicitor General

Boaters are reminded to be safe and sober while enjoying Ontario's lakes, rivers and other waterways this holiday weekend.

Boat operators should avoid consuming even a small amount of alcohol that can impair their driving. Operators with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 to 0.08 will face at minimum, an immediate
three-day driver's licence suspension and a $150 penalty.

A safe trip on the water also includes:

  • Inspecting the boat's safety equipment and confirming it is in good working condition.
  • Ensuring every passenger in the vessel has a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device PFD)  and that it fits appropriately.
  • Avoiding the water if thunderstorms are expected and returning to shore immediately when unsettled weather approaches.

Quick Facts

  • To date in 2009, on Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) patrolled waterways, 15 people have lost their lives while boating and only one of these boaters was confirmed to be wearing a lifejacket.
  • Between 1996 and 2006, the OPP reported 128 people killed in boating incidents involving alcohol.
  • A lifejacket or PFD's inside label will determine if it is the appropriate size for each boater.

Additional Resources


“Our government encourages all Ontarians to drive safely on our waterways. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners and to provide the resources needed so that our police can enforce safe boating practices.”

Rick Bartolucci

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services

“Whether you are driving a car or operating a boat, if you have been drinking, the consequences can be just as tragic, and the penalties severe. Drinking and driving is never worth the risk.”

Jim Bradley

Minister of Transportation

“Choosing to wear your lifejacket or PFD rather than just having it close by is the key to staying afloat and alive if you inadvertently end up in the water.”

Julian Fantino

Commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police

Media Contacts



Driving and Roads Law and Safety