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Boating Related Deaths on the Rise Ahead of Long Weekend

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Boating Related Deaths on the Rise Ahead of Long Weekend

Clearwater River May 2017 // Harvard Broadcasting Reporter Brandon Piper

With the long-weekend ahead, one organization wants to make sure people enjoy boating in a safe manner.

For the last five years, Operation Dry Water has been trying to spread the word about the dangers of drinking and boating.

The program aims to stop these individuals by asking the public to inform emergency officials if they spot someone using a boat under the influence of alcohol.

“It tends to be a bit of a cultural thing which is tough to battle because people just view drinking and boating going hand and hand with relaxing when they’re on the water,” said Ian Gilson, Director with the Canadian Safe Boating Council.

Their numbers suggest every year there are between 110-125 deaths related to people driving boats while inebriated.

As of July, there were 58 boating related deaths across Canada, up 20 from this time last year.

“People are getting themselves into trouble and dying as a result.”

Gilson notes the wind, waves, and the rocking motion can increase “the intoxicating factor of alcohol.”

Gilson says he expects people to rush to the beaches for the upcoming civic holiday, however, he believes this could lead to a lot of dangerous situations.

“There’s going to be a lot of other boats out there on the water and a lot of risks for collisions if you’re not operating your boat in a responsible manner, it’s a dangerous mix,” added Gilson. “It’s not a go boating and die message, boating is extremely safe and we want you to get out there and have fun this upcoming weekend, just be responsible.”

People who are caught drinking and boating can see the same punishments as people caught drinking and driving.

People looking for more information about the program can go to operationdrywater.org.

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