Cops, Coast Guard on ‘high’ alert this weekend

If you
If you're drinking while boating ... don't.
— image credit: File photo

Consider it fair warning: enforcement from police and other authorities will be on high alert not only on roadways this long weekend, but on the water as well.

Const. Don Sinclair of the Comox Valley RCMP said along with the extra holiday, the summer weather and alcohol make for a bad combination, no matter the motorized vehicle.

“Things are going to happen … we will definitely be having a higher presence this weekend,” he added.

Sinclair said both RCMP and the Coast Guard will be “roving around various lakes or the ocean” in the Comox Valley, and warns would-be drivers consuming alcohol on a boat or watercraft that it is equally as dangerous as stepping behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired.

“There could easily be many injuries or death, and there is always an increase around a long weekend,” he added.

Sinclair said anyone caught operating a motorized vehicle — on the water or on the road — can be charged with impaired driving.

Along with keeping an eye out for impaired boaters, both enforcement agencies will be keeping an eye and performing spot checks on boaters who do not have the proper safety equipment on board, which Sinclair explained can result in a fine. If a boater is found impaired, their boating licence can be suspended.

Jim Linderbeck, station leader of the Comox Valley Marine Rescue, said they will be ready to assist any marine incident, but noted so far this summer, the number of incidents have been down.

“It might be due to the high cost of fuel. We’ve been responding to simple incidents such as motors stopping or boaters running out of gas.”

CVMR and Station 60 Comox is a volunteer-run service to provide marine search and rescue to commercial, recreational and tourist users of the waters surrounding the Comox Valley.

They are trained to Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary training standards, and are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist someone in distress.


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