Boating While Intoxicated: Dangers and Alternatives | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog
Home / Blog / Boating While Intoxicated: Dangers and Alternatives | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog
Late summer is a popular time for recreational boaters, and consequently a time of increased boating injuries, many of which involve alcohol as a contributing factor. Operating, or even riding in a boat while intoxicated poses a number of dangers that may not become evident until it’s too late. According to the U.S. Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.), alcohol is particularly dangerous to boaters for these reasons, among others:
“Cognitive abilities and judgment deteriorate, making it harder to process information, assess situations, and make good choices.
Physical performance is impaired – evidenced by balance problems, lack of coordination, and increased reaction time.
Vision is affected, including decreased peripheral vision, reduced depth perception, decreased night vision, poor focus, and difficulty in distinguishing colors (particularly red and green).
Inner ear disturbances can make it impossible for a person who falls into the water to distinguish up from down.
Alcohol creates a physical sensation of warmth – which may prevent a person in cold water from getting out before hypothermia sets in.”
If you’re planning a boating outing this summer or early fall, take note of these U.S.C.G.-recommended alternatives to using alcohol while afloat:
“Take along a variety of cool drinks, such as sodas, water, iced tea, lemonade or non-alcoholic beer.
Bring plenty of food and snacks.
Wear clothes that will help keep you and your passengers cool.
Plan to limit your trip to a reasonable time to avoid fatigue. Remember that it’s common to become tired more quickly on the water.
If you want to make alcohol part of your day’s entertainment, plan to have a party ashore at the dock, in a picnic area, at a boating club, or in your backyard…. Choose a location where you’ll have time between the fun and getting back into your car or boat.
If you dock somewhere for lunch or dinner and drink alcohol with your meal, wait a reasonable time (estimated at a minimum of an hour per drink) before operating your boat.
Having no alcohol while aboard is the safest way to enjoy the water — intoxicated passengers are also at risk of injury and falls overboard.
Spread the word on the dangers of BUI. Many recreational boaters forget that a boat is a vehicle – and that safe operation is a legal and personal responsibility.”
Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.