A lesson sometimes lost on boaters was driven home in provincial court on Thursday: drinking alcohol while piloting watercraft is a criminal offence.
Warren Magwood, 30, was fined $1,200 and banned from driving for one year - on roadways or waterways - after pleading guilty to impaired driving.
On July 6 around 7 p.m., an RCMP boat patrolling the Thompson River pulled up to a powerboat that was headed westbound. They immediately noticed empty beer cans on board.
Magwood, the operator, was slumped behind the wheel. His eyes were bloodshot and he had a disheveled appearance. He was taken into custody under suspicion of impaired operation of a motor vehicle. Two breath samples showed he had a blood/alcohol level of .120, above the legal limit of .08.
Magwood was convicted in 2004 of impaired driving. Considering this second offence, Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston asked for an elevated fine of $1,400. Other boaters were at large at the time, presenting an added measure of risk, he noted.
Defence counsel Renzo Caron said it wasn't Magwood but a friend, who also attended court, who drove the vehicle that launched the vessel. He said his client is currently unemployed and asked for a lesser fine of $1,200.
"I really let myself down and people around me down," Magwood told the judge.
"Drinking and driving applies to driving on water as well as on land," the judge reminded Magwood. "You can put so many people at risk. You only have to open a paper to read of the carnage."
The judge agreed to the lesser fine and gave Magwood six months to pay it. A one-year driving ban is automatic, a mandatory sentence under the Motor Vehicle Act.