Coast Guard: Alcohol has a deadly link to boating accidents

While summertime is the ideal time to get a boat out on New Jersey waters, it is also a time during which people put themselves at risk. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s annual boating statistics, New Jersey saw 111 accidents on the water last year, three of which were fatal.

Though not every accident can be avoided, there are certain precautions people can take to ensure their safety. For example, experts note that every boat should have enough life jackets onboard so every passenger has one. Further, children who are younger than 6 should wear life jackets at all time.

Perhaps one of the most important safety tips is to avoid alcohol. The U.S. Coast Guard points out that alcohol has been linked to roughly one-third of boating fatalities that are recreational. This occurs in part because someone driving a boat is more likely to feel the effects of alcohol quicker than someone driving a vehicle. The following factors illustrate the danger behind this: 

  •        The motion and vibration of a boat can exacerbate the inebriation.
  •        Boat operators are typically less experienced on the water than they would be driving on the road.
  •        Alcohol will affect balance, which may already be a struggle while on a boat.

An inebriated operator may experience lapses in judgment and a slower reaction time.

The Coast Guard recognizes that many people want to celebrate summer with an alcoholic beverage. If it cannot be avoided, then anyone who drinks and plans to operate the boat should wait at least one hour per drink before attempting to drive. Doing otherwise risks the lives of those on the boat and others at water.

Be safe this summer, don’t drink and drive a boat

For a lot of people across the state of New Jersey — and the nation for that matter — summer is their favorite time of the year. And why not? The summer months mean nice weather and sunshine — the perfect combination to bring anyone outdoors to enjoy pastimes both on the land and on the water. But just as summer can bring joy, it can also bring tragedy.

More often than not, this tragedy comes in the form of serious or fatal car accidents caused by drunk drivers. But as you probably already know, the dangers of drinking and driving are not exclusive to vehicles on land. These dangers are ever present for boaters as well, which is why we’d like to take time today to remind our Atlantic City readers to be safe this summer and avoid drinking and then driving a boat.

Whether you’re behind the wheel of a car or the controls of a boat, alcohol can significantly impair your ability to think and react to your surroundings. For boaters, a delay of even a few seconds can mean the difference between moving out of the way of a speeding boat or colliding with it.

Accidents on boats may be more deadly than they are on land too for two reasons. The first is that boaters oftentimes do not wear restraints, meaning if they collide with something, passengers can be thrown from the boat, suffering serious or fatal injuries in the process.

Second, many boaters don’t wear life jackets while on the water. As you can imagine, this can be very dangerous, especially if a person is thrown from a boat, because they run the risk of drowning if they become injured or knocked unconscious.

We want each and every one of our New Jersey readers to enjoy their summer, which is why we hope today’s post will be taken to heart and act as a deterrent for drinking and driving a boat.