Chapter 8: Operator Responsibility

Boating Under the Influence

We've established that drinking and operating a boat is a dangerous proposition. Here, we'll go into further detail about why this idea is so dangerous.

Alcohol's effects are actually amplified when out on the water. The sun, wind, and motion of the boat all make a single drink onboard a vessel have similar effects to three drinks back onshore. If one has had a drink, never operate a boat, whether it's a powerboat, sailboat, or canoe it is always a bad idea. Even after a single drink, one's vision, balance, coordination, and judgment will all be impaired. Combining that impaired state with the sun's glare, the wind, and motion of the boat results in a high chance of a dangerous accident. Operating a boat after even a single drink puts everyone on board and any nearby boaters at serious risk.

Drinking and boating is a serious offense, as serious as drinking and driving. Marine authorities carry breathalyzers and will issue the same serious penalties as drinking and driving if one has alcohol in their system.

Drinking and boating is dangerous. Over 60% of drowning accidents actually occur after one has fallen off of a vessel, shoreline, or dock into the water. Autopsies reveal that alcohol is a factor in over a third of these fatal accidents. Over half of boating accidents occur when occupants are standing. If alcohol is impairing one's balance the risk of falling dramatically increases.

The severity of local laws varies, but ultimately the single rule to follow is simple:

Boating Under the Influence

Never drink and boat.