Recreational boaters sometimes take beer or other alcoholic beverages along for the ride. But is this wise?
Conditions exist on the water that can produce some surprisingly serious consequences connected to boating under the influence or BUI.
Summer boating and safety
Vacationers and members of the local college crowd still have plenty of time to enjoy outings on scenic waters such as Raystown Lake. The optimum word to keep in mind is safety and alcoholic beverages can put boating safety at risk. To begin with, it is against the law to operate a boat while you are under the influence of alcohol. The United States Coast Guard enforces laws pertaining to BUI. The penalties include heavy fines, revocation of your privileges to operate a boat and possible jail time.
The marine environment and alcohol
You may know that alcohol consumed on land can affect not only your judgment but also your vision, coordination and balance. The same is true on the water. However, the marine environment, which combines sun, wind and spray with the engine noise, motion and vibration of a boat can accelerate intoxication levels. Drinking while boating will bring on fatigue, which will quickly affect your judgment and increase the potential for an accident.
Consequences to avoid
In addition to making judgment calls more difficult, drinking while boating has other drawbacks:
- Decreases depth perception and night vision and causes problems recognizing colors, especially red and green
- Causes a disturbance to the inner ear, making it hard to determine up from down if you should fall into the water.
Effects on your future
Like a DUI conviction on land, a BUI conviction on your record can follow you into the future. The best policy is to put safety first and leave the alcoholic beverages behind when you and your passengers prepare for a summer outing on Raystown Lake.