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Is boating while intoxicated dangerous?

Alcohol use while boating is still dangerous, even though some people believe it's not. When you're intoxicated, you could make poor decisions that can impact your ability to stay safe or keep your passengers safe. Drinking and driving is banned for good reason. Boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as driving that way.

The reality is that a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a danger to you no matter what kind of vehicle you're on. You're more likely to make mistakes that cause collisions. On the water, that means that someone could be badly hurt or drown as a result of errors. Boats are not toys, despite being treated like toys that anyone can drive or use at any time. You still need to have a boating license and have to be safe when you're behind the wheel.

Boats are usually intended as recreational vessels, but not everything is a party on board. Boat operators who have a blood alcohol concentration of .10 or higher are up to 10 times more likely to get into a crash and die than sober operators.

You can get a BUI for operating a vessel of any kind while intoxicated, and that includes canoes, kayaks and others without motors. No matter what you're in, being intoxicated while on the water is dangerous. You are more likely to become dehydrated in the sun, to cause an accident or to make errors that lead to drowning.

Boating and alcohol don't mix. Stay safe this summer and avoid drinking and driving, no matter what vehicle you're in.

Source: Coast Guard Compass, "6 most common rumors about alcohol and boating," PA1 David J. Schuhlein, accessed April 26, 2018

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