Boating Basics Online - Basic Boating Safety Course
Chapter 6 - Operations

Alcohol and Controlled Substances

Most boating accidents involve the use of alcohol and one-third of all boating fatalities are alcohol related. It is illegal to operate a boat, or to permit others to do so, while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or barbiturates.

Penalties are severe and could include fines up to $5000, imprisonment of up to one year, non-paid public service work, and mandatory substance-abuse counseling. If an operator under the influence kills or seriously injures another person, the penalty can be up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5000

Some states have additional penalties, and the legal limit varies by state, so check your state laws for details.

Boat on rocksAlcohol is a stressor and can decrease a person’s ability to handle a boat in many ways. As a depressant, alcohol goes straight to the nerves, blood stream, and the brain. As recreational boaters, it is hard enough to remember all the rules, regulations, boat handling techniques, etc. while lucid. A few beers to quench the thirst in a rapidly dehydrating body and the following happens:

Passengers who are drinking should be especially encouraged to wear life jackets.

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