Cot­tage party primer: you gotta be there

Boats, booze and young adults don’t mix

Bayview Post - - Currents -

‘Tis the sea­son.

Of cock­tails on the dock and long leisurely swims, of a good book, a Muskoka chair and a lazy af­ter­noon, of the sun set­ting over the lake, of good friends lov­ing the north coun­try to­gether. Such is cot­tage life.

Un­til you in­tro­duce the fac­tor of the older teenager/young (notso-adult) adult who knows in their bones that the best place in the world to party is the cot­tage. With no par­ents in at­ten­dance.

I wish that I didn’t know what goes on at those par­ties. But you can’t stuff the genie back in the bot­tle, and I’ve heard too many sto­ries. Most of them not good. Al­most all of them in­volve way too much al­co­hol and drugs.

Kids do shots. Lots of shots. They get blotto on the ugly com­bi­na­tion of too much hard liquor and too much mar­i­juana. Don’t ask them about it be­cause they lie to their par­ents. It’s in the ado­les­cent DNA to with­hold info about things they know will dis­tress their par­ents. We lied to our par­ents, too, once upon a time.

None of this would be such a big prob­lem if their judg­ment (not so great at the best of times) were not so badly im­paired by sub­stances. Bad things can hap­pen. Bad things that are par­tic­u­lar to the cot­tage in the sum­mer. They can trash the cot­tage. They can go swim­ming drunk and some­body can get hurt. Badly hurt. Wa­ter-ski­ing or wake­board­ing. Driv­ing the boat care­lessly or drunk. Again, some­body can get hurt.

This is a heart-break­ing pos­si­bil­ity, and it gets worse.

As par­ents, we need to un­der­stand so­cial host li­a­bil­ity. The law says that if we serve al­co­hol, or al­low it to be served in our home, we are lit­er­ally li­able for the con­se­quences.

In a 2017 case, the On­tario Su­pe­rior Court up­held host li­a­bil­ity when a 19-year-old who got drunk at a house party was in a car ac­ci­dent and be­came a quad­ri­plegic. In plain English, that means the home­own­ers were sued and lost a lot of money. Even though they did not give him the al­co­hol.

Step 1 to pro­tect your­self re host li­a­bil­ity is to buy a lot of host li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance.

Same deal if some­body who doesn’t have their PCOC (Plea­sure Craft Op­er­a­tor Card) gets caught driv­ing your mo­tor­boat.… Even worse if

Cot­tage sea­son shouldn’t (and doesn’t have to) in­clude law­suits and tragedy.

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