A large number of boating accidents on Georgia’s lakes and rivers are linked to alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, far too many boaters believe that the “no drinking and driving” rules that apply when they are driving a car no longer apply when they are operating a boat.
According to statistics, about 16 percent of all boating accidents are linked to boaters operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, far too many boaters believe that it is okay to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, even though the same boater would never engage in drunk driving.
The effects of alcohol on your brain are the same whether you’re on water or land. In fact, the effects of alcohol may be even more dangerous on water for a number of reasons. Being exposed to the sun, heat and humidity while out on the water can make you dehydrated and intensify the effects of the alcohol. The frequent movements or rocking motions of the boat can lull an alcohol-impaired person into a false sense of complacency and security. The noise and vibrations of the craft can also make the effects of the alcohol more potent than they seem behind the wheel of the car.
Boating can be more dangerous than driving on Georgia’s crowded highways. This is because the waters are not marked with easy signs or notices, which makes navigating a boat much more difficult than driving a car. And even though boating at night time may be very popular, since most boats do not come with lights that alert their presence on the water, it can also be very dangerous.
In addition to the conditions a motorist must consider such as traffic, weather and visibility, a boater must also be aware of other factors while operating a boat. These include the depth of the waters, as well as current and tide patterns where he is operating the boat. Oftentimes, a boater may be in an unfamiliar area which is why it is so important for a boater to be mindful of the water conditions before heading out. This could mean the difference between life and death if the operator or a passenger falls overboard. Being intoxicated while boating can make managing these situations all the more difficult.
It’s not just the person operating the boat who needs to stay away from the alcohol – the passengers need to as well. The distractions and noise from intoxicated passengers can distract the driver of the boat, which can increase the chances of being in an accident. Alcohol can impair a person’s sense of inhibition, making him more aggressive and more physical. If there are intoxicated passengers on the boat engaging in horse-play, running around or engaging in other actions that affect the boat’s stability, it can pose a risk to all of the occupants on the boat.
When you are on a boat this summer, make sure that the driver of the boat avoids any alcoholic beverages. Do not get into a boat being operated by an impaired boater. Further, if you are the boat driver, be responsible and limit the alcohol that your passengers drink as well.
Boating accidents are more common that one may think, and they can result in serious injuries. This is why if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, speaking to a boating accident lawyer can help you protect your legal rights to recover all of the compensation you may be entitled to.