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Summer Boating Safety: Boating and Alcohol Are a Deadly Mix

With more than four million recreational boaters, California’s waterways can get crowded during the summer months. That’s why it is extremely important for boaters to exercise caution and follow the rules.

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal in California. Yet alcohol impairment remains one of the greatest safety concerns on the water.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), alcohol consumption plays a role in approximately one third of all recreational boating fatalities. In fact, a boat operator with a BAC above .10 percent is more than 10 times as likely to die in a boating accident than an operator who has not consumed any alcohol.

The effects of alcohol can also be more dangerous on the water. As explained by the USCG, “The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – accelerates a drinker’s impairment. These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator’s coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol.”

With this in mind, below are a few boating safety tips:

  • Leave the alcohol on shore. Intoxicated passengers are also at risk of injury, such as falling overboard.
  • If you consume alcohol while on land at a beach, marina, or restaurant, allow plenty of time to pass before operating your boat.
  • Remember that a boat is a vehicle, which means that it carries the same obligations for safe operation and personal responsibility

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a San Diego boating accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.