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Boating drunk? Here are 3 reasons to avoid it

Just about everyone loves to head out on the water in the summer months. The breeze is fantastic, and it's a great time to spend an afternoon with your family and friends. Perhaps you like to go out on your own and go fishing or prefer to take a tour in the evening to go dolphin watching. Whatever it is you like to do when boating, this is the season to enjoy it.

One problem with boating is that some people believe it's safe to drink alcohol and drive a boat. That could not be further from the truth. The reality is that much like any other vehicle, a boat has the potential to crash and malfunction. A driver who is impaired won't be able to respond to an emergency in the way he or she should, and could cause a serious crash on the water. Here are three other reasons to avoid getting drunk while at sea or on a lake.

1. You'll get dehydrated quickly

If you're not drinking water and are spending time in the sun, it's more likely for you to become dehydrated. Combined with the risk of intoxication, you're more likely to suffer symptoms like headaches or disorientation, which could put you in danger.

2. You could cause a crash

This is a serious reason never to drink behind the wheel of a boat. When you're boating, you're not alone on the water. Even though the waterways are more freeing and have more space to travel, it's likely that you'll come across other boaters. Some will have larger vessels, and others will have small, personal vessels. The last thing you want to do is to hit someone or to have someone hit you. By avoiding alcohol, you'll be in a better position to avoid causing or becoming part of a crash.

3. You could lose your license (and suffer penalties)

Finally, remember that a boat is still a vehicle, so you can get a BUI if you drive drunk. Boating under the influence is a crime similar to driving under the influence. Boating while intoxicated increases the risk of fatalities by up to 34 percent, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, so you can be penalized for doing so with fines or the loss of your boating license. You could even go to prison if a crash results in a person's death.

Avoiding alcohol when you're boating is a good idea. By playing it safe, you'll enjoy time on the water without the fear of repercussions.

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