Can You Drink on a Boat in Ontario?

Alcohol may be transported on boats in Canada as long as it is securely sealed or stashed away in an approved container, although passengers should remain aware of the potential repercussions from combining drinking with boating.

Impaired boating carries similar penalties as impaired driving, including fines and even jail time.


Boating differs significantly from driving an automobile and the laws regarding drinking оn boat іn Ontario can differ dramatically. According tо Canada’s Criminal Code, operating any water vehicle under the influence оf alcohol, recreational drugs оr prescription narcotics іs illegal; while 80 mg Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit іs set as the same limit applied when operating an automobile.

Consumption оf alcohol оn boats іn Ontario іs only legal іf they meet certain criteria, including having permanent toilet and sleeping facilities as well as being anchored оr docked securely alongside. Yachts, houseboats and some campers could potentially fulfill this criteria.

Apart from safety concerns, alcohol can have several adverse consequences for passengers оn board ships. This includes poor depth perception and vision problems; disturbances tо inner ear functions; decreased motor skills; as well as decreasing body resistance tо cold temperatures resulting іn hypothermia upon falling overboard.


Even though it is legal to have alcohol on board a boat in Canada as long as it is properly sealed and out of reach from drivers, any consumption by an operator of any kind of alcoholic beverage is unlawful – similar laws govern drinking and driving also apply to boating, and operators who consume any type of alcoholic beverage while operating may face stiff fines, license suspension or jail time for violating them.

Alcohol or recreational drugs can impede judgment and reaction times when boating or fishing on the water, particularly under windy conditions or when fishing for lures. These substances may exacerbate these risks and result in serious accidents – including boating under the influence (BUI), which is similar to driving under the influence.

Marine police can conduct spot checks along any Canadian waterway and request breathalyzer tests from anyone aboard. BUI penalties include heavy fines, license suspension, and possible jail time; while alcohol consumption may also lead to balance problems and inner ear disturbances that result in vertigo or loss of focus as well as decreased resistance against cold temperatures leading to rapid hypothermia.


When boating, the safest course of action is always remaining sober. Drinking and driving on water is just as risky as drinking and driving in cars; doing so could result in heavy fines or even jail time.

Provincial laws differ, but all forbid consuming alcohol while operating a vessel. Passengers, however, may consume alcohol while the vessel is stationary – for example moored to docks, beaches or anchorages.

Current Canadian law stipulates that boaters caught under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription narcotics will face similar penalties to drunk drivers; including fines, license suspension and jail time. To avoid these severe punishments it’s best to always prioritise boating safety by having all your permits and equipment ready and abiding by all waterway rules and regulations – so have fun this summer and stay safe!


Fishing can be an enjoyable activity to share with family and friends while enjoying nature, but it’s essential that we all remember our safety while on the water. When fishing alone or as part of a group it’s wise to fish with someone so you have someone there should something go wrong and are there for one another if necessary. In addition, using appropriate equipment and following park regulations are both crucial parts of keeping safe in this sport.

Boating while under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription narcotics is illegal and hazardous. Each year over August long weekend, the Canadian Sport Boating Congress hosts Operation Dry Water to raise awareness of this risk among Canadians.

This campaign emphasizes the dangers associated with drinking and boating, existing remedies that discourage such behaviour, and increased police enforcement on waterways. CSBC and MADD Canada want Canadians to remember that boating impaired is just as hazardous as driving under the influence, and can have legal ramifications similar to drunk driving convictions; in many provinces legislation has even been put in place allowing impaired boating convictions to impact an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.