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Boating this spring? Don’t warm up with alcohol

In South Carolina, it is illegal to use a Jet Ski, sailboat or motorboat when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That being said, there is no law preventing passengers from drinking or from alcohol being present on the vessel. In fact, the law allows a presumption that a boater was not under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration comes back at .05% or lower.

That doesn’t mean that someone who has been drinking can’t be accused of boating under the influence or that they won’t face penalties if they get into a crash or act impaired while driving. Despite that, the chill in the spring months might make you want to take a swig of your favorite drink on the water.

Does alcohol actually warm you up?

Alcohol is a vasodilator. What that means is that your blood vessels dilate and receive more blood flow when you’ve had alcohol to drink. This works particularly well among capillaries, which are located around the surface of the skin.

Whenever you drink, more blood heads to the surface of the skin. This makes you feel warmer and is why people who drink may appear flushed.

Alcohol won’t keep you warm

The reality is, though, that the warmth is short-lived. It might hold off a chill for a few minutes or help you get warm once you head inside, but the blood near the surface of the skin will cool rapidly. Interestingly, that rapid drop ends up causing the opposite effect, leading to a cooler core temperature. For that reason, it’s dangerous to drink in cold weather and might make you colder than you were in cool temperatures.

Drinking alcohol also reduces your body’s ability to shiver, which means that you won’t naturally warm yourself back up. All of this combined means that you will likely be colder if you drink.

How should you say warm while boating?

Instead of drinking, opt for a sweater or windbreaker. Woolen jackets and coats work well to keep in the heat, too. Do this, and you’ll be safer while driving and warmer, too.

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