The Dangerous Effects of Alcohol to Boat Operators

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Boating Accidents | 0 comments

Aside from alcohol-impaired driving, another cause of accident that continues to injure or claim the lives of hundreds of individuals is boating under the influence (BUI). The official website of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division, named the Boating Safety Resource Center, says that BUI is just as deadly as drunk-driving, that drinking will impair a boat operator faster than a car driver, and that 1/3 of all recreational boating accidents involve alcohol-impaired operators or passengers. Because of the dangers of BUI, violators who will be caught can face imprisonment, fines and revocation of operating privileges: worse punishment will be faced by those who cause injuries or death.

The federal BUI law enforced by the United States Coast Guard is applicable to all types of boats, from large commercial ships to the smallest recreational, sporting and fishing vessels. Foreign vessels sailing through U.S. territories and U.S. ships sailing on the high seas are also subjected under this law.

Drinking alcohol or liquor, while on sea, can have worse and faster effects on a boat operator. This is due to the overall marine environment, where the boat’s operator and passengers experience the sun, wind, sea water mist or spray, engine noise, vibration and motion. Thus, due to alcohol, capsizing boats and drunken passengers falling over board have become common causes of death.

The various threatening effects of alcohol, when consumed while on sea, include:

  • Weakening of judgment, cognitive abilities, wise assessment of situations, processing of information and in one’s ability to make good choices;
  • Impairment in physical control, resulting to failure to make timely reactions to dangers, lack of coordination and problem in balance;
  • Decrease in peripheral or night vision and depth perception, difficulty in identifying colors, especially green and red; and,
  • Failure to pull self out of the cold water, causing hypothermia and death.

As stated in a law firm called Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., boat accidents are some of the most potentially dangerous accidents an individual can be involved in, as victims are additionally exposed to the risk of drowning. This means that any act of recklessness while on a boat can put everyone on or near the vessel at risk. As such, it’s important that negligent boat operators are held accountable when their actions result in harm to others.

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