Alcohol and Boating Accidents

Boating accidents have been on the rise, and statistics show that as of the year 2010 a total of 4, 604 boating-related accidents have been reported. Of these reported accidents, there have been 672 deaths. Majority of these deaths are because of drowning, mainly from not wearing life vests. One of the leading factors in these accidents is alcohol. Boating under the influence accounted for 125 lives in 2011 alone.

What makes alcohol more dangerous while on the boat is that it easily impairs the senses. The marine environment – vibration, motion, engine noise, wind, sun and spray – can all affect and speed up the effects of alcohol. Alcohol-impaired people operating a marine vessel, whether it is a canoe to bigger boats, may feel fatigued and lead to lack of coordination, misjudgment, and slower reaction.

It is impossible to ban any water activities; therefore it may be better to impose certain rules and safety regulations when it comes to boating and other water activities. There are ways to avoid boating under the influence:

  • When having a party, only bring non-alcoholic drinks, and bring plenty of food and snack. Avoid bringing any alcoholic drinks, and also realize that intoxicated passengers can also pose a threat to the whole crew.
  • If alcohol is necessary, plan to have the activity on the shore or at the dock, or any places on land.
  • When drinking off the boat, make sure you have enough time for the alcohol to wear off before going aboard the boat again.
  • Make sure to have enough rest when planning and operating a marine vehicle. Fatigue is quick to occur on a boat.

The website of law firm Ravid &Associates points out that the penalties for boating under the influence include large fines, imprisonment, and/or revocation of license. Every state has laws against boating under the influence, therefore once apprehended an operator can be put in a very disadvantageous position. Although there are authorities who enforce maritime safety regulations, there are sadly a lot of people who still don’t follow these regulations while others are not even aware of these laws.

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