Man could be charged for being too drunk in canoe on Christina Lake

Drunk canoe man arrested

A man is being investigated for impaired operation of a vessel after creating a scene while drunk in a canoe on Christina Lake last week.

RCMP say they were called on June 29 at 1:40 p.m. for a report of an intoxicated man out in a canoe.

The Christina Lake Fire Department, which had their boat on the water, helped Mounties make contact with the 51-year-old local man.

Police said in a news release the man “refused to comply with directions,” but eventually made his way to a dock and “hid under there for several minutes again refusing to comply.”

An officer would end up being forced to go into the water and bring him out.

He was arrested and taken to the Grand Forks RCMP detachment where he was further investigated for impaired operation of his canoe. He was later released when sober with a court date on Sept. 19, 2023.

Sgt. Darryl Peppler, Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment commander, admitted that he had to check the Criminal Code to determine if a canoe was considered a vessel under the law.

He said the file has since been taken over by BC Highway Patrol members who also responded.

“They're gonna go with the investigation forwarded to Crown and we'll wait to see if Crown will approve it or not,” Peppler said, who explained the man in the canoe provided breath samples twice the legal limit.

He said this is the first time in his 23 year career that he’s seen a person in a canoe be investigated for impaired operation of a conveyance.

Canoes have legally been considered “vessels” since 2018 when an Ontario judge ruled so in a case involving the tragic death of an eight-year-old. That ruling was then upheld at appeal


Earlier that day at around 10:30 a.m., RCMP say they were on boat patrol on Christina Lake when they came across a stranded Sea-Doo rider with mechanical issues who was making a long paddle across the lake.

The man was brought aboard and his vessel towed to shore. He was a visitor from Alberta who had all the necessary equipment with him, including a life jacket, paddle and rope. Police say he was happy for the lift and to be saved from a 90 minute paddle.

RCMP are reminding the public about the importance of having all the necessary equipment on board while on the water, in addition to operator licenses when needed and watercraft registration.

"The RCMP will have a presence on the water throughout the summer," said Peppler. "Officers will be checking boats to make sure the necessary equipment is on board, to check for licenses and registrations, and to make sure there is no alcohol present."

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