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Coast Guard Calls Attention to Dangers of Boating Under the Influence

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The U.S. Coast Guard launched “Operation Dry Water” this weekend, a nationwide annual campaign to call attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to the Coast Guard, alcohol was the leading factor in 16 percent of boating-related deaths in 2011, the Detroit Free Press reports. “Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion cause fatigue and slow down your reaction time,” Cleveland-based Coast Guard Commander David Beck, Chief of Enforcement for the 9th Coast Guard District, told the newspaper. “Combining those factors with alcohol or drugs greatly reduces your reaction time and can lead to deadly consequences.” The article notes that boaters who fail sobriety tests can be issued citations or can be immediately taken into custody and have their vessels impounded.

The Coast Guard recommends that in order to avoid boating under the influence, boaters should take along a variety of cool non-alcoholic drinks. “If you want to make alcohol part of your day’s entertainment, plan to have a party ashore at the dock, in a picnic area, at a boating club, or in your backyard… Choose a location where you’ll have time between the fun and getting back into your car or boat,” the Coast Guard notes on its website. Boaters who dock for lunch or dinner and drink alcohol with their meal should wait a reasonable amount of time (a minimum of one hour per drink) before operating a boat.

1 Response to this article

  1. Avatar of Nicole Teel
    Nicole Teel / July 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    This is a great issue to bring to the attention of the public every summer. Kudos to the Coast Guard. There is however a risky statement in this article which is that people should wait a minimum of one hour after drinking an alcoholic beverage. A one hour wait doesn’t cut it anymore. Consider the plethora of higher alcohol content drinks available and the varying amounts served, in addition to the fact that even one drink can impair one’s ability to drive. A better suggestion would be to wait at least two hours after one drink or a better option would be to not drink at all if one will be operating any type of vehicle. Someone can still get a BUI/DUI even if they are under the ‘legal limit’ because it is up to the arresting officers discretion if a person is unfit to operate a vehicle. In Colorado, it is fairly common to get a DUI charge even when a person is under the leagal limit.

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