Of course we are all aware about the dangers of drinking and driving, but that type of behavior most certainly needs to be called out for other vehicles as well. Being an inebriated pilot can obviously put an entire plane at risk and, as summer rolls in, there are just as serious dangers for boat captains. In fact, the “Drunk Boating” trend is becoming so prominent that the the United States Coast Guard has recently addressed it.
In a statement that was picked up by several prominent news organizations, Coast Guard representatives spoke out about the rise of drunk boating accidents and the serious risks that sailing under the influence can pose.
Summer, not surprisingly, is the peak season for drunken boating incidents and it appears as though that trend has been spiking upward over the past year. In fact, over the past 12 months there have been no less than 50 serious accidents related to boating under the influence.
The U.S. Coast Guard emphasized that there are multiple reasons to be concerned about this behavior. Intoxicated boat pilots (and riders) have a much higher likelihood to drown if a vehicle were to capsize. Motor boats, for example, are also very large and dangerous vessels that can cause tremendous damage if they were to crash at sea. And there are the search and rescue efforts that constantly trace back to drunk boating, eating up Coast Guard resources and taxpayer money.
It is because of these (and many other) reasons that the Coast Guard officially launched Operation Dry Water over the past year. Funded by the organization, it is a national campaign that aims to educate boat owners about the dangers of drinking behind the wheel. One big stat they use in their awareness efforts is that fact that alcohol is the leading cause of all recreational boating deaths.
To help get the message out, the Coast Guard has set up a Dry Water website and a host of educational resources about BUI’s (Boating Under the Influence). They have also drastically increased their fines for BUI citations in the hopes that it works as a further deterrent.
Coast Guard rep John Huber summed up the situation in a recent quote given to The Chicago Tribune. “When you drive a boat, you’re operating a giant motor vehicle that can kill people,” he told the news site. “It’s really best not to drink on the water at all. Boaters who want to enjoy a few drinks on the lake or river should have a designated driver. Alternatively, they should refrain from drinking until they drop anchor, then stay put until they’re fully sober.”