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Drinking and boating do not mix

These are both state and federal laws on the books that prohibit skippers from operating their vessels on the water while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Just like driving a car under the influence is hazardous, operating a boat while you're on drugs or alcohol can be life-threatening to you, your passengers and other boaters around you. Approximately one-third of all recreational boating fatalities are alcohol-related.

Alcohol can affect a boater's balance, coordination, judgment and vision. More than half of those individuals that die in boating accidents do so after it capsizes or they fall overboard.

Experience or the lack thereof also

plays a role in boating accidents. The typical recreational boater only gets in about 110 hours on the water annually. Their confidence can be affected by their limited experience. It makes for a dangerous combination when this lack of confidence combines with alcohol consumption.

Boating stimulates a person's senses differently than driving. Boaters may be affected by the sun, vibrations, engine noise, wind, the water's motion and the spraying of water. When a person adds alcohol to the already numerous stressors, fatigue increases, and judgment and reaction time decrease sharply.

Several adverse effects take place when a person consumes alcohol and tries to navigate a boat. A skipper's cognitive abilities and judgment rapidly deteriorate. Balance and coordination become inhibited. Reaction times slow down. A person can become hypothermic because alcohol makes them feel warm.

Depth perception, peripheral vision, night vision, visual focus and the ability to distinguish colors become significantly diminished when a skipper is intoxicated. The inner ear also is affected, creating vertigo-like problems.

Significant fines and penalties can result from someone operating a boat under the influence. A skipper may lose their boating privileges and may face criminal charges. Their boat can end up being confiscated or impounded.

Boating accidents can cause serious injuries or a loss of life. It can be quite costly to pay for medical care and rehab expenses. No amount of money can take away the pain of a loved one's loss. A Manhattan personal injury attorney can advise you on how to recover your losses after a boating accident.

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