Parkland RCMP and Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers were out patrolling local waterways in Parkland County over the weekend, to run compliance checks and enforce safety for boaters and fishermen.
On Saturday, July 4th, law enforcement says 50 boats were checked. Officers wrote several inspection warnings and Alberta Fish and Wildlife laid nine charges.
On Sunday, July 5th, at Wabamun Lake and Jackfish Lake, officers checked over 150 boats and spoke to numerous shore fishermen. Officers say warnings were given out, a few tickets were issued, and one person was arrested for impaired operation.
Alberta Fish & Wildlife and Parkland RCMP found that there was approximately a 90% compliance rate, which is a significant change from two years ago when compliancy was at 50%.
Officers are reminding the public that the same laws regarding the impaired operation of a conveyance, which includes vehicles, boats, and watercraft, apply on the road and on the water.
If a person’s blood-alcohol level is between 0.05 to 0.08, the first offence is a minimum $1000 fine, immediate 3-day license suspension, and 3-day vehicle seizure. The length of a suspension and the number of days the vehicle is seized increases per offence.
If a person’s blood alcohol is over 0.08, the first offence is a minimum $1,000 fine, sustained license suspension, and a 3-day vehicle seizure. The person must also complete the Government of Alberta’s Planning Ahead course at a cost of $275. The number of days the vehicle is seized and the cost of the impact course increase per offence.
Passengers (never the operator) on a boat are permitted to consume alcohol if the boat meets certain criteria. To legally consume alcohol on a boat, it must be moored or anchored with permanent cooking and sleeping facilities, and a permanent bathroom. If the boat meets those requirements, the passengers are allowed to consume alcohol. Fishing boats and general pleasure-craft don’t meet these criteria, but some houseboats do.
Officers say they 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.