BOATING WASTED IS WASTED BOATING
Unfortunately, too many people think boating and drinking alcohol (or taking drugs) go together. “It’s a party on the water” or “It’s easy to steer a boat.” This couldn’t be further from the truth and it makes for a dangerous cocktail. Boating under the influence (BUI) is boating wasted. Party over.
ALCOHOL USE IS THE LEADING CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN FATAL BOATING ACCIDENTS (23%), WHERE THE PRIMARY CAUSE WAS KNOWN*.
BUI CONVICTION IN MANY STATES LEADS TO THE LOSS OF BOATING AND DRIVING PRIVILEGES.
The blood-alcohol levels for boating under the influence (BUI) usually follow a state’s DUI laws. But one major factor that adds to the dangers of drinking and boating is BOATER FATIGUE.
Balancing and adjusting on a pitching boat causes muscles to tense and relax in an effort to maintain equilibrium. This constant motion combined with extended sun exposure leads to physical fatigue that magnifies the effect of alcohol as well as illegal and some prescription drugs.
Passengers are also affected by these factors and are exposed to the specific potential dangers that come with boating. For example, an impaired passenger is much more likely to fall out of a moving boat then a car. They are also more likely to make bad decisions like approaching a boat near the propeller while swimming.
Add to all that, the reason drinking and boating can be more dangerous than drinking and driving is the complete opposite of why people think it’s less dangerous … the rules of the water are perceived to be “looser.” There are no lanes you need to stay in or specific speed limits you need to observe. When people don’t observe, or know, the rules and their judgment is impaired they tend to make bad decisions.
Lead by example. We can’t expect others to change if we haven’t.
Educate, don’t lecture. When we know better, we do better.
It’s important to stress the dangers of BUI and educate our fellow boaters about the additional contributing factors (boater fatigue) that further impair judgment on the water. Review our resources section for downloadable and shareable information.
If your day on the water involves alcohol, please designate a safe skipper. But don’t make it a job, make it something more. Consider making their favorite boating food, just for them (e.g., decadent brownies or that perfectly creamy macaroni salad). Find ways to incentivize your skippers. Keep in mind, the more educated boaters you know, the larger the pool of people who can take turns being safe skippers.
Boating is serious fun. We’ve provided a variety of advocate tools and outreach methods, choose what works best for you and your community.
- Visit spread the word for easy outreach through personal social media outlets and boating forums.
- Provide year-round education on all boating safety topics – download pamphlets, flyers, banners, and posters. Great event materials. Search by topic in the resource section.
- Download our marketing playbook, an advocates dream resource for creating change. Find it under the Boat Live 365 topic in our resource section.
- Don’t know where to start? Contact us. We’re happy to help.
*U.S. Coast Guard’s Recreational Boating Statistics Report, 2019
Operation Dry Water is also a great organization to access event materials to help raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence and the make sure you know the laws. Most people largely underestimate the consequences of the safe-boating rule. Please educate yourself and stay safe all year long!
Visit our resource library for downloads, event materials, tips and ideas on how to create a safe boating culture 365 days a year.
Designate a sober skipper and help the Sea Tow Foundation save lives. Find promotion tools, downloads and order campaign wrist bands to share on their website.
To truly spread the Boat Live 365 message, please make a concerted effort to discuss and promote all of the “Serious Fun Topics” together, all year long.