Prevent Alcohol-Related Boating Accidents this Summer

According to the Coast Guard, boating under the influence is a factor in as many as one-third of all boating accident deaths in the United States. Summer means more numbers of boaters on our waters, and a higher risk of boating accidents. As a maritime lawyer, I know that many of these accidents are likely to involve people boating under the dangers of alcohol. In more than 50% of boating accident fatalities involving alcohol, victims with fell overboard or their vessels capsized. According to the Coast Guard, a person operating a boat with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08% is at a significantly greater risk of being involved in a boating accident. Drinking on a vessel may be much more dangerous than drinking on land, because people tend to be less experienced boaters than drivers. There are several reasons why drinking and boating can increase your risk of being involved in a collision. Alcohol can affect a person's ability to process information, and dull his response time. It weakens his ability to judge and respond to dangerous situations. Additionally, boating under the influence can increase a person's feelings of fatigue. A person may actually become intoxicated quicker on a boat than on land. The physical effects of intoxication may become even more pronounced from the buzz and vibration of the motor and the warmth of the sun, magnifying the risks of an accident.

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