Alcohol, cannabis and driving do not mix

Although it is now legal in this country to possess and use cannabis, certain precautions must be taken if you decide to drive because, just as with alcohol, cannabis can make you less alert. For several reasons, it is recommended not to operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


The harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on boating

The effects of cannabis use can last between three and five hours, and can have dangerous consequences when boating, including:

  • decreased attention and concentration
  • an increase in reaction time
  • being less attentive to the direction you're sailing
  • impaired judgment and memorya decrease in motor coordination
  • an increased risk of hypothermia


In the case of alcohol, its effects reduce reaction time, judgement and driving ability. In addition, the effects of fatigue, sun, wind and boat movement can be intensified by alcohol. It is often said that having a drink on board a boat is the equivalent to having three drinks on land.



Your NautiMax boat insurance policy includes $2 million in liability coverage. However, if someone dies as a result of you r driving while impaired, this amount may not be enough.


What about the law?

A person commits an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada if he or she has consumed alcohol or drugs and drives a boat with:

  • an alcohol level in his blood equal to or greater than 80 mg of alcohol/100 ml of blood (0.08)a
  • THC level in his blood of 2 to 5 nanograms of THC per ml of blood (5 ng/ml) ora
  •  THC level in his blood greater than 5 nanograms of THC per ml of blood


Note that if a person is not operating a boat that is parked but exceeds the permitted limits of alcohol or drugs in their blood, they can still be charged.



In addition to the charges, , boaters who exceed the 80 mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood limit are liable to a $1,000 fine for a first offence, a minimum of 30 days imprisonment for a second offence and 120 days for a third offence. The maximum sentence may vary.




Consommation de cannabis en bateau (in French only)

Government du Canada – Alcohol consumption

Government of Canada – About cannabis

Loi sur l’alcool et les drogues en bateau (in French only)

Educaloi.qc.ca – Drinking, Drugs and Driving: Crime





The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under licence by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies.