Liquor is Quicker on the Water
Alcohol, with its well-known ability to impair performance, creates an even more hazardous situation when added to the stress of the marine environment. This is because the marine environment - the fluid base, motion, vibration, engine noise, and elements of sun, wind and spray - accelerates impairment. The operator's coordination, judgment, and reaction time are reduced by fatigue caused by these stressors. A boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 percent is estimated to be more than 10 times as likely to be killed in a boating accident than boat operators with zero blood alcohol concentration. Further, alcohol can be more treacherous for boaters since they are less experienced and less confident on the water than on the highway. Recreational boaters do not have the advantage of experiencing daily operation of a boat. In fact, boaters average only about 110 hours of boating in a whole year. And in areas with seasonal boating, there can be months between boating outings or fishing trips.
Effects of Alcohol Consumption
Add boating stressors to those usual factors resulting from drinking alcohol, and a truly perilous condition is present. Drinking alcohol produces certain physiological responses that directly affect safety and well-being.
- Judgment and skills deteriorate, affecting peripheral vision, balance, and ability to process information.
- Physical performance and reaction time are reduced.
- Alcohol reduces depth perception, night vision, focus, and the ability to distinguish colors, especially red and green.
- Alcohol consumption can result in inner ear disturbance, which can make it impossible for a person suddenly immersed in water to distinguish up from down.
- Alcohol creates a sense of warmth and may prevent a person in cold water from getting out before hypothermia sets in.
How Quickly Alcohol Effects the Human SystemAPPROXIMATE BLOOD ALCOHOL PERCENTAGE
Drinks: Body Weight in Pounds:100120140160180200220240Influenced?10.040.040.030.030.020.020.040.02 RARELY20.090.070.060.060.050.040.040.0430.130.110.090.080.070.070.060.0622.214.171.124.110.100.090.080.07 POSSIBLY126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.0960.2184.108.40.206.220.127.116.110.310.218.104.22.168.150.140.13 DEFINITELY80.350.222.214.171.124.180.160.1590.400.330.2126.96.36.199.180.17100.440.370.310.2188.8.131.52.18