Drinking and Boating Safety

Make Safe Waves

Few things say summer like heading out on a boat with family and friends. But changing conditions, intense heat, unfamiliar waters and other boaters can combine to make time on the boat challenging, especially if alcohol is involved. So, how can you have fun and keep your friends and family safe? Here are a few tips to do exactly that!

Designate a Driver 

If your friends or family are planning a boating party, plan ahead. Choose a designated driver. Just like operating a car, choosing a designated driver will allow friends and family to relax and have fun, knowing they’ll be safe. Of course, it’s still important to encourage fellow boaters to enjoy alcohol in moderation.

Pack Food and Beverage Options 

Take a lot of food and snack options along in addition to a variety of non-alcoholic drinks like water, soda, juice and lemonade. This provides options for both the driver of the boat and the passengers, and helps ensure that everyone maintains a healthy mix of eating and drinking.

Choose a Relaxed Schedule 

Make plans to go boating first, and then celebrate at the marina, in a park or your backyard. If you boat to lunch or dinner and have had a drink, give yourself enough time to wait before operating the boat again. A general rule of thumb is one hour for every drink — but the time will vary based on each individual driver. Err on the side of extra time — remember, the Coast Guard and every state have stringent penalties for violating BUI laws. Penalties can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges, and jail terms. You don’t want your day of fun to end that way!

For all the fun you’ll have heading out on the boat, it’s important to remember conditions can change quickly. Give yourself the best chance to respond by planning ahead, bringing a good mix of food and beverages and choosing a relaxed schedule. Doing so helps ensure the fun lasts.