Boating on a warm, sunny day is a relaxing experience, often met with food, alcohol and comradery. But even if you enjoy kicking back with a beer, you should always pass on the booze if you’re in charge of operating the boat. Driving any motor vehicle while intoxicated, even on the open water, puts you and your passengers in a dangerous situation.
In fact, drunk boating can be even more dangerous than drunk driving. Why? The fatiguing effects of intoxication are enhanced by:
- The wind
- The sun
- The engine noise and vibration
Do you ever feel tired after a day at sea? That’s because these factors alone can fatigue you. Add alcohol to the mix and you only increase your sleepiness and decrease your reaction time. While these effects are not detrimental for passengers, they can absolutely be dangerous for drivers.
Even if the lake isn’t overcrowded, a drunk boater can still run the vessel into land or a dock, capsize the vessel, cause people to fall overboard or induce other damages. Out the 600,000 boating accidents every year, about half of them involve intoxicated drivers.
Because of the danger, boating under the influence (BUI) is illegal across the country. You are considered legally intoxicated when your blood alcohol content level reaches 0.08 percent, after which you’re nearly ten times more likely to be involved in a boating accident than sober drivers. If convicted of a BUI, you may face:
- Various fines
- Suspension or revocation of your boating license
- Jail time
- Vessel impounding
There are plenty of refreshments—including fresh water, teas, juices and sodas—that you can enjoy while boating. But if you’re in charge of operating the boat, set aside that can of beer or pitcher of margaritas for later once you’re safe on the shore.
Our job is to help keep you safe on the water. Call Northside Insurance Agency at (813) 960-5225 for more information on Tampa boat insurance policies.