It’s a sparkling day on the water in Florida. You and some friends gather for a day of enjoyment and relaxation aboard a recreational vessel that you are skippering. There is alcohol readily available, and everyone, including you, is gulping it down fast. It never occurs to anyone how unsafe this practice can be – until an accident occurs and someone gets hurt or loses their life. Consuming alcoholic beverages while you were operating a boat was the primary culprit.
Being under the influence when you are piloting a boat is not only highly risky but is also a violation of the law. According to the United States Coast Guard, “It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. The Coast Guard also enforces a federal law that prohibits BUI [boating under the influence].”
Why is drinking while boating discouraged so strongly?
The United States Coast Guard outlines problems associated with drinking and boating:
- Remember the setting you are in when operating a boat and how it affects you. Various factors such as solar glare, the loudness of the boat’s engine and the wind can all tire you out considerably. As you get wearier, your drinking takes hold and becomes more pronounced.
- Most boaters lack significant experience on the water.
- The notable effect that alcohol has on a person’s coordination, vision, balance and judgment. All four go downhill rapidly as you keep drinking.
Coast Guard officials emphasize that boat operators need to be in top condition to successfully and safely operate a water vessel.
Preventing excessive alcohol consumption when boating
The Coast Guard suggests that boaters should take a few different measures to ensure that they don’t become intoxicated while boating, including:
- Leaving the liquor on land when boating. The benefits of bringing along tasty beverages like ice water, iced tea and tonic instead.
- Having enough to eat onboard for your passengers.
- Dressing in attire that keeps you cool and comfortable.
Coast Guard officials also point out that boaters could benefit from understanding how a BUI is a serious crime.
What you need to do if you’re facing BUI charges
You will need to know your responsibilities and rights before crafting a defense strategy. Get the details on how to build one from a source you trust.