Summer has officially arrived and, although the majority of the U.S. is still working through COVID-19 lockdowns, there are still opportunities for road trips and vacations. A popular pastime in our home region of Southern California is boating, which is still very much allowed via new social distancing conditions. But it is important to point out that operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous (if not more) as drunk driving.
Recently the U.S. Coast Guard highlighted some myths about boating under the influence. We believe they are universal no matter what part of the country you live in and most certainly deserve to be shared.
It’s also worth calling out just how common “drunk boating” is. Every year, hundreds of boat operators are arrested for intoxication. And tragically, the are many annual fatalities as well. Whether it’s a crash, a drowning or an unexpected capsizing.
That brings us to our first myth from the Coast Guard. The thought that drinking while operating a boat is less dangerous than drinking while driving a car is a complete falsehood. In fact, 16 percent of all boating fatalities are attributed to alcohol and it is the leading contributing factor in all recreational boating deaths.
Another myth properly brought up by the Coast Guard concerns the idea that boats are toys meant for partying. 100 percent untrue. These are complex machines that require care and attention. Yes, we understand the enjoyment certain people experience having a cocktail on the water. But there is a huge responsibility when operating a boat and the driver needs to remain fully sober while it’s out on the water.
Myth number three is that it’s unlikely to get arrested when boating and drinking. This is a falsity as well and the Coast Guard article emphasized that officers are cracking down more each year on “BUIs.” Police and fish and game wardens are authorized to make arrests and patrolling much more frequently. Similar to DUIs, there are breathalyzers used and punishments can include jail time and even loss of car driving privileges. It is also worth noting that you can receive a BUI for any type of intoxication; including drug and marijuana use.
We are big advocates for safety when it comes to recovery. Whether it’s driving under the influence, boating under the influence or even biking under the influence. These are extremely dangerous actions that not only put the person using in jeopardy, but all those around them as well.