With summer finally here, boaters are excited to get out on the water and spend ample time in the sun. Some boaters will also indulge in alcohol aboard their vessels, which can lead to serious injuries with sometimes life-threatening consequences. The Boat U.S. Foundation explains how drinking alcohol while boating can endanger your life and the lives of other boaters.
The conditions while boating can actually increase your level of fatigue over the course of a day. For instance, being exposed to the hot sun can diminish your response time, which decreases even further when you add in alcohol. You must be able to interpret conditions in a reasonable manner to be able to make split-second decisions in some cases. A slow reaction time means you might miss important cues, which can easily lead you into a dangerous situation.
Balance is also affected when on a boat. Even if you have “sea legs”, your passengers may not. This increases the risk that you or someone else may fall overboard, especially when you’ve been drinking. It can be difficult to swim while impaired, which greatly increases the risk of drowning. Keep in mind that one in four boating fatalities involve drowning, and even the most seasoned boater can fall victim to drowning when inebriated.
Alcohol is known for impairing a person’s judgment. Even if you’re normally cautious, you might be tempted to engage in riskier behaviors when drunk. Even a small amount of alcohol can lower inhibitions, which puts you and other boaters in danger if you forgo essential safety procedures or make dangerous maneuvers. To ensure everyone remains safe, never take alcohol on board with when boating.