Boating accidents remain common during the summer months as people venture out onto the water during their vacations, and while boating does have its risks, the addition of alcohol to boating adventures remains the most common denominator in most incidents. According to the Coast Guard Maritime Commons, more than 750 people died in boating accidents in 2020, a 25% increase from the previous year.
A deeper look into this issue may reveal the cause for the connection between alcohol and boating accidents so those who choose to boat in the future may stay safer during their journey.
Safety precautions fall with alcohol intake
When boaters fail to monitor their alcohol intake, this can result in a reduction of safety precautions, such as wearing life jackets, obeying local speed limits and boating only in areas marked for water crafts. The more impaired a boat operator becomes, the greater the risk that he or she may get injured or killed while on the water.
Boaters feel increased confidence when drunk
Drinking alcohol can give people an inflated sense of self-confidence, and when booze and boating mix, this can increase the risk of an accident. Drunken boat operators may feel they have the ability to take certain risks, including:
- Operating a boat they have little experience with
- Navigating unfamiliar waters
- Maneuvering at high speeds
Serious accidents usually happen when this increased sense of self-confidence brought on by alcohol causes a collision with either another boat or with a dock or other stationary object.
Passengers on board also suffer the risk of severe injury if they get ejected during a collision. Those without life jackets often drown, especially if the individuals were drinking heavily before a crash.