Sometimes people don't realize the importance of not drinking while boating. Alcohol use should be evaluated like all other stresses when it comes to the individual who is operating the boat. Each year hundreds die in boating accidents and many of them can be linked to alcohol use while boating. Nearly eighty percent of the deaths were caused by drowning which is the leading cause of death in the United States. Why is drinking so bad while boating?
Boaters face many factors that cause fatigue such as exposure to vibration, noise, glare and motion. All of these factors can cause fatigue that impairs an individuals, but when you add these factors to the additional fatigue and impairment of alcohol it is easy to see why drinking while boating is so dangerous. The stress factors may seem small at first, but they will add up over time to become a large problem. This is why it is best to avoid them before they become a problem.
It is important to realize that in many states it is also illegal to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol. It often carries federal penalties that include a fine between one thousand and five thousand dollars as well as the possibility of up to a year in prison. In many states driving under the influence while boating carries the same penalties as drinking while driving a vehicle. When it comes to boating follow a few tips to stay safe on the water.
It is best to have a designated non-drinker who will operate the boat. If you must drink while boating then exercise care and caution. Make sure you eat before you start drinking and limit yourself to less than one drink per hour depending on what you alcohol limits are. Alcohol and boating is a dangerous combination so play it safe when on the water. Other safety tips that can keep you safe on the water include the following.
First and foremost you need to make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment. You should have life preservers on hand for every individual, make sure your lights are working in case you get stuck out on the water after dark and carry a flare gun for emergencies. You never want anything to go wrong during your fun trip on the water, but you don't want to take chances. It is always best to be prepared for any emergency you may possibly face.
Always make sure you know what you are doing. If the weather isn't appropriate for your boat type then wait for better weather before you go boating. If there are a lot of boats around keep your speed down or find more open water. If there is shallow water or a lot of debris in the water you should avoid the area or slow down to a point that you can accurately avoid any snags.
It is a good idea to tell someone where you are going and how long you plan to be gone. This way if something should happen you have someone who knows where to look for you. While on the water be aware of not only your boat and the people in it, but also for others on the water.