Booze is Bad News
Alcohol is involved in about one third of all boating fatalities. In fact, a Coast Guard study from a few years back showed that a boater who was legally intoxicated was 10 times more likely to become involved in a fatal accident than one who was sober. Alcohol also adversely affects vital body functions such as balance, coordination, vision and judgment.
A Recipe for Disaster
Combining the effects of cold water and alcohol can speed the onset of hypothermia (a dangerous cooling of the body’s inner temperature), causing even good swimmers to drown in minutes - often within a few yards of safety. Even without drinking, four hours exposure to environmental stressors such as sun, wind, noise, vibration and temperature produce a kind of boater’s hypnosis which can slow your reaction time almost as much as if you were drunk. Adding alcohol to these stressors intensifies their effects to a perilous level.