Boating under the influence is dangerous, and sometimes deadly. It's also illegal! We talked about this more in-depth in our last post. Below we're going to dispelling some dangerous myths and talk more about summer boating safety. Did you know that Legacy Freedom provides the most affordable drug and alcohol rehab in Columbus OH? Call today to get your life back on track with outpatient addiction treatment that really works.
The Myths and Dangers Of Boating Under The Influence
Boats Are Not Toys
One of the biggest myths that is the most dangerous is that boats are toys built for adults to party on. Unfortunately, many people associate boats with summer partying. These are the people that will be first to bring the booze on board. While boats are built for fun, they are not toys and need to be treated as such. Operating a boat while under the influence is just as dangerous, and illegal, as driving a car while drunk. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that boat operators with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .10 or higher are 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than sober operators. And in the state of Ohio, there's been an average of four boating deaths annually over the past 5 years where alcohol was the main contributing factor.
Even if the skipper is sober, a situation can still turn dangerous and deadly if the rest of the people on the boat are intoxicated. Furthermore, as the skipper of the boat, you're main job is ensure the safety of your crew and the people around you that you're sharing the water with. So if you want to party on a boat, please book a trip on a cruise ship. That way you're not endangering innocent people.
The Inexperience Factor
New boat operators are eager to get out on the water. It's natural to want to showoff. However, if you're a rookie boat operator, drinking while operating is a real bad idea. The waterways can become crowded during the summer months. There aren't any signs like you find on the highway. Knowing where to turn, where to slow down, and who has the right-of-way can be challenging. Alcohol severely inhibits your concentration, reasoning, decision making, and reaction times. This means that being intoxicated could lead to a boating accident, crash, or even capsizing. The risks of getting into a boating accident is much higher for rookie captains. When you throw alcohol into the mix you have a recipe for disaster.
Not OK For Boat Passengers To Be Intoxicated
Another major myth is that it's okay to get intoxicated if you're just going to be a passenger on a boat and not operating it. Not true! The reality is you're at risk regardless of the skipper's sobriety levels. Boat crashes, capsizing, falling overboard, and drowning are all dangers that you could face. An older study from 2001 reported that passengers on boats are more at risk of dying in a boating accident than the boat driver. Furthermore, most drownings occur from falls overboard or capsizing.
Here's a few ways that alcohol can dangerously affect you as a boating passenger:
- Impairs judgement - To safely boat you need to make good decisions and judgement calls. Making bad decisions can be deadly when dealing with a boating accident or water situation.
- Slows reaction time - When faced with a dangerous situation, alcohol slows down your reaction time. You might not be able to think and move quickly enough to avoid injury or death.
- Reduces balance and coordination - It can be difficult to walk on a boat while it's moving through the water sober. Being intoxicated increases your chances of a miss-step, stumble, or fall. Drugs and alcohol can mess with your equilibrium, which can be fatal when you're on the water.
- Gag depressant - Alcohol depresses your natural gag reflex. This is one of the main factors for alcohol related drowning.
Boating passengers typically like to swim as well. Because of the negative effects we mentioned above, there's also a strong case to be made about alcohol impairing a person's swimming abilities. This could lead to drowning. Here's how we think alcohol interferes with a person’s swimming ability.
- Confusion or disoriented while in the water
- Bad judgement and decision making when swimming in unsafe areas
- Decreased strength, stamina, and ability to hold breath
- Depressed natural gag reflex which helps to prevent drowning
Drinking In The Elements Is Dangerous
Did you know that the sun, wind, and boat and wave action intensifies the effects of alcohol? This makes being intoxicated even more dangerous. Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that drinking under the hot sun can dehydrate you at a much faster pace. This can actually put you more at risk of having a heat stroke. A heat stroke occurs when the body lacks enough fluids to cool off and it essentially overheats. It's a very dangerous condition.
If you're going to be boating this summer, please do so soberly. In our next post, we'll be talking about designating a sober skipper. Please be sure to visit back with us in July to read it. If you're wondering how to get help for your own substance abuse problem, call Legacy Freedom. We help families beat addiction.
Outpatient Drug Treatment and Alcohol Rehab in Columbus OH For Summer
Substance abuse, alcohol abuse and other forms of addiction are controlling diseases that just get worse over time. That's why Legacy Freedom Treatment Center of Columbus is here to help. We know how important it is to receive effective, comprehensive treatment that is specialized to each individual, and not a group. Our outpatient drug and alcohol rehab in Columbus OH includes alternative and holistic programs customized to fit your needs. This methodology also allows your loved ones to be able to be at home this summer, go to work, and take classes! It’s not a 12-step, or a one-size-fits-all program; it’s real addiction recovery with real people.