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Is drinking alcohol a problem while on a boat?

One of the appeals of going boating on the lakes of Wisconsin is getting away from it all. Some people’s idea of a good time on the water may include having a couple of beers. However, indulging in too many alcoholic drinks while on a boat can put you and your passengers at severe risk of an injury or even death. There are several reasons why drinking excessive amounts of alcohol while boating is a risky activity.

The Boat US Foundation explains that a person who has imbibed too much alcohol and falls overboard is at greater risk of drowning. Since alcohol makes it harder for your body to endure cold, if you should plunge into cold temperature waters, you would succumb much faster. You might not be able to swim to a shore or back to your boat, or even cry out for help in time. Additionally, your motor functions may be so impaired that you cannot swim very well. You could also misjudge direction and possibly swim the wrong way.

One of the best known effects of alcohol is that it causes people to take risks that they otherwise would not attempt. Alcohol impairs a person’s judgment whether on land or on the water. Consequently, you might try something on your boat that is risky or dangerous. You could operate the boat in a reckless manner, such as speeding up too quickly or making a sharp turn that, while sober, you would never try to do. 

Your senses are also hampered under the influence of alcohol. Your brain takes more time to perceive information from your eyes, nose or ears. Hence if you perceive a problem, you may take too long to react to it. Also, with a few beers in your system, you will have greater problems processing multiple signals at the same time. This can be an even greater issue if you go boating at night. With reduced reaction and vision, you open yourself up to increased injury risk or even a fatal boating accident.

Also keep in mind that operating a boat is not a fully relaxing experience. There can be some stress involved in handling your vessel on the water, which can already reduce your functional capacities. Possessing too much alcohol in your system will only reduce your ability to function even further.

Keep in mind that this article, while written to discuss personal injury topics, does not offer any legal advice.

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