Drinking and boating don’t mix.
Here’s a hard and fast rule that all seasoned boaties live by: Have a designated non-drinking skipper to get you, your mates and your boat home safely. It’s that simple! If you follow this golden rule you will avoid a whole bunch of issues that could ruin your day out.
Because of the unpredictable nature of the sea, a wise skipper wants to be in control of every possible factor. And staying ‘dry’ – giving the booze a miss – is one of the main things you can do to ensure a great day on the water for all involved.
The law of the land and the sea are the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are driving a vehicle or a boat – you have to stay under 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit.
Alcohol impairs judgment, and that’s something a skipper needs every ounce of if they want everyone to have a top day. Alcohol impairs reaction times too. Combine bad decision-making with hesitation and you have a bad brew.
These days, nearly all boaties know what’s up, and know that the only thing boozing will guarantee is drama. Only a buffoon would think a mild buzz is worth the risk. After all, you can drink at the pub any old time – you’re out here to be on the water, for the freedom of the wide-open blue horizon.
Out on the water, alcohol’s effects seem to be multiplied. Dehydration, wind, salt and sun all combine into the perfect storm for intoxication, which, like the snake eating its tail, simply exacerbates every other problem.
One beer feels like two. Two like four. What you think you can tolerate on land to stay under the limit, well, it’s just not the same on the water. And when it comes down to brass tacks, you’re best off not trying to sneak in just a single beer – you’re better off waiting until you get back to dry land.
While having a beer might seem like a good idea if you’re a passenger, it’s not necessarily wise. Alcohol effects everyone. Passengers are just as likely to be involved in incidents as drivers – such as falling overboard – as a result of drinking alcohol. In the event of an emergency, the skipper and all passengers will need to respond quickly and have their wits about them.
Oh yeah, and aside from all the unnecessary risks of being intoxicated on the water, if you’re over the legal limit, you’re going to get caught by the water police or the regular police back at the ramp.
The coppers are constantly on our waterways, with the goal of making them safer, and that involves random booze and drug tests out on the water. Get caught (and you will) and you’re going to face some serious consequences.
– No alcoholic drinks if you are under 18, obviously.
– If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, the BAC limit 0.02
– If you do end up stranded or adrift, your decision making is going to be shot.
– By all means, if your ship is moored, in berth or at anchor, you can safely and legally have a drink on the deck.