Over the long weekend members of the Athabasca/Boyle RCMP Integrated Traffic Unit teamed up with Alberta Fish & Wildlife Officers to patrol the waterways in the area. It was suspected that boaters may have been consuming alcohol and officers wanted to ensure the waters were safe for all users.
The officers’ suspicions were correct and in their patrols, on Saturday alone, in checking numerous boats on the Athabasca River only one had an operator who provided a sample showing zero alcohol in their body.
RCMP Corporal Curtis HARSULLA says, “It was surprising to see that nearly all boaters, even some before noon, provided breath samples showing they had anywhere from a low amount of alcohol, upwards of suspendable and chargeable levels for being impaired while operating a conveyance.”
Enforcement officers would like to remind the public that the same laws regarding the impaired operation of a conveyance (which includes boats, watercraft, motor vehicles, etc.) apply if you’re on the water or the road.
Although it is not unlawful to have low amounts of alcohol in your body while operating a watercraft, the same requirements of remaining under 80mg per cent of blood-alcohol content apply as if in a car or truck. Criminal charges and suspension of driving privileges can occur if officers suspect impairment.
Two suspensions were issued, one arrest for impaired boating was made and numerous open/consuming liquor tickets were issued during the patrols.
Officers will remain visible on the lakes and rivers of the area for the remainder of this season and into the next to ensure the safety of all users.