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Know how alcohol affects your boating abilities

When you are out on the water, you might want to have a few drinks with your friends. Before you do that, you should know that you can face criminal charges for boating under the influence. You should also know that just because you can usually have a specific number of drinks and are fine, that might not be the case on the water because alcohol can affect you differently when you are out on the lake in a boat.

The natural effects of being on a boat can induce fatigue, which is also known as boater's hypnosis. The vibration of the boat, motion of the waves and exposure to the sun can all have these effects. Alcohol will intensify these effects, so you likely won't be able to consume as much alcohol as you would on land before you start to become impaired.

Your reaction time is likely going to be slower after you have been drinking. As you know, it isn't possible to stop your boat on a dime in the water. You need to have as much time and mental capacity as possible if you have to make an evasive maneuver while driving the boat.

Alcohol can also affect your balance, which could mean that you are at an increased risk of falling overboard. It can also affect your judgement, which could cause you to take risks you would normally avoid.

All of these are very good reasons to save the alcohol for a time after you dock your boat and won't have to drive anywhere. If you end up facing drunk boating charges, be sure to explore all of the options you have for a defense.

Source: BoatUS Foundation, "The Effects of Alcohol," accessed Nov. 17, 2016

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