BOATsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 04 - Safe Responsible Boat Operation

The negative effects of drinking alcohol while boating include:

  • A diminished sense of judgment and ability to process information—alcohol impairment will make you less attentive and will lessen your ability to make good, smart choices on the water.
  • Slower reaction and reflex response times (you may not be able to avoid a collision with another boat if you are operating while impaired).
  • Reduced motor skills, peripheral vision and balance, putting you at great risk of falling overboard.
  • Poor depth perception, vision, focus and a reduced ability to distinguish colors (you must be able to see the navigation lights of other boats).
  • Inner ear disturbances that make it more difficult to find the surface of the water if you fall overboard (not knowing up from down when underwater is terrifying!).
  • Accelerated hypothermia (alcohol lowers the body’s resistance to cold).
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