The Canadian Safe Boating Council and the Life Saving Society of Alberta are reminding boaters and swimmers to remain sober while out on the waters this long weekend.

The society's Mandy Fisher, says alcohol is one of the leading causes in water related injuries and deaths.

"In Alberta it's close to 30 per cent. We know that in one third of cases in boating accidents and drowning, we know that either alcohol or drugs were involved."

Fisher says unlike driving, it's not enough to have a designated driver.

"Even if you are not the one operating the boat, if the weather changes or if the boat capsizes, or even if someone slips and falls out into the water, it would be significantly more difficult to get them out of trouble."

Part of Operation Dry Water is reminding the public there are also strict fines for impaired driving while operating a boat.

Fisher says the fines are just as severe as impaired automobile driving laws.

"It's important to point out that boaters can be charged under the criminal code of Canada if they are found to be impaired while operating a boat, so from the perspective of the Life Saving Society, we don't want anyone to be charged, but more importantly we don't want anyone to be killed or injured."

Fisher says this weekend, keep safety equipment and sobriety in mind when enjoying your activities out on the water.

"We see a huge increase in statistics in injuries and deaths during long weekend in the summer. The best way to prevent any harm to yourself, or people you love, is to remain sober while out on the water, and be sure to wear a life jacket just in case something goes wrong."


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