Know the law before drinking alcohol on boats

With hot weather, people are heading to local lakes and rivers with their watercraft to try to beat the heat. In many cases, they take along alcoholic beverages.

While most people are aware that it is illegal to be impaired and operate a boat, many do not know that it is also illegal to consume or possess alcohol in an open container on private boats in British Columbia unless certain criteria are met.

Woman drinking a beer on a boat


Provincial government regulations restrict the consumption and possession of open liquor to boats that the public do not have access to and that are equipped with:


If these conditions are not met on the boat where alcohol is being consumed or possessed, people could face a fine of $230 for consuming liquor in a public place.

Liquor licenses

Alcohol can be sold, served and consumed on boats that are licensed or permitted through the Liquor and Cannabis Regulations Branch. For more information on British Columbia’s liquor guidelines and policies, please visit the British Columbia Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch

Throughout the summer, RCMP officers from across the province are on patrol on the water with the goal of ensuring that everyone is safe. By knowing what is legally permitted, we hope that everyone will make responsible choices and enjoy themselves while on and around the water.  

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