Boating while intoxicated (BWI) can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, statistics from the U.S Coast Guard have shown that about one-third of all recreational boating fatalities involved alcohol use. This summer, make sure that you not only have a designated driver when you hit the bars, but also a designated boater when you are out on the water.
Alcohol affects people differently on the water. Per the Coast Guard, a person’s limit at home can be greatly lowered due to the marine environment. For instance, sun, wind and spray, motion, vibration, and even engine noise can cause fatigue. Fatigue can hinder a person’s reaction time and coordination, even more so when alcohol is factored into the equation.
Further, it is very rare for a boater to have the same level of experience with a vessel as they do with a motor vehicle. Most people drive their cars on a daily basis, while boaters spend an annual average of just 110 hours on the water, according to the Coast Guard. A lack of experience can put an intoxicated boater at an even greater disadvantage.
The effects of alcohol—like lack of coordination and reduced depth perception—also have unique risks on the water. Per Coast Guard data, more than half the victims of BWI fatalities fell overboard and/or capsized their boats. The warm sensation associated with alcohol can also increase a person’s risk of developing hypothermia in cold water, while inner-ear disturbances (another effect of intoxication) can make it difficult to tell up from down when underwater.
Keep your boating trip fun. If you plan to have a few drinks out on the water, make sure to have a designated boater. The last thing you want is to have your boating trip interrupted by tragedy.
Charged with a BWI? Call (612) 444-5020!
If you are facing a BWI charge, Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm’s defense team can help you navigate the criminal justice system. We will utilize our over 100 years of combined experience and proven strategies to mount a strong defense for you. Our goal is to get you the best outcome possible, as we have for countless clients in Minneapolis.
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