Planning to hit the water on the long weekend? York Regional Police (YRP) is reminding you to about the dangers of boating while impaired.

They will be out in full force as part of Operation Dry Water, an initiative that stresses the importance of boating sober.

Drinking and boating account for about 40 per cent of boating-related fatalities on Canadian waterways. This year, the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and YRP are also concerned about the potential impact of legalization of recreational marijuana and the increase in use and abuse of prescription narcotics in boating incidents and fatalities.

Open alcohol containers are allowed only on boats designed to be residences, with sleeping, washroom and cooking facilities. Drinking is only allowed when that boat is at anchor, docked or hard aground; never while underway.

Combined with sun, wind, waves and the rocking motion of the boat, the effects of alcohol and drugs on the water can be greatly increased. When it comes to drinking and boating, the same rules apply when out on the water as when you’re operating a car on the road. The penalties for drinking and boating are also the same as drinking and driving, reminds YRP Marine Unit Staff Sgt. Greg Williams.

The CSBC launched the Operation Dry Water campaign over the first weekend of August in 2013. It’s aimed at reducing the number of impairment-related accidents and fatalities on the water while fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use while boating. The end goal is to achieve safer and more enjoyable recreational boating. The initiative is made possible through the support of the Transport Canada boating safety office.