How Does the Effect of Alcohol While Boating Compare to Its Effect While on Land?

We have all had stressful workdays, seemingly impossible deadlines to meet, endless hours of presentations to meet the client’s satisfaction. And after the end of it, we have all wanted a let out and partied till the wee hours in the morning, sometimes consuming more alcohol than our body’s tolerance. But unlike Chandler Bing and Ross Geller, most of us did not end up on a fishing boat in Nova Scotia!

But if you are partying on a boat, then you need to exert extra precautions. We have all come across drunk drivers and are fully aware of the repercussions of it, the effects of alcohol while boating is more severe than on roads especially if you are driving it. It is equally harmful to the passengers onboard.

What are the reasons behind it?

It is true that accidents can happen anytime but you can’t be irresponsible under this pretext. 

Besides being drunk, there are other factors that come into play. They are-

  • Condition of the water- turbulent waters and waves tend to make your head spin and you feel too dizzy 
  • Illumination- if the lighting is not sufficient or very dim, it can hamper the driver’s vision.
  • Glare- if the glare reflecting from the surface of the water is too bright or the sunlight is too strong, then it blinds the operator and the passengers
  • Winds and rains- strong and turbulent winds only add to the impairment and have serious repercussions
  • Seasickness- if you have an existing phobia of seas and water, then in a drunken state, it only gets worse

What does alcohol do?

Alcohol tampers with your cerebellum, one of the three main parts of the human brain. The cerebellum is responsible for your muscle movements by sending out nerve impulses to the various parts of the body to initiate a movement. Cerebellum also coordinates your voluntary muscles, that is, your sense of balance and judgment. Losing track of these two factors is what is quintessentially responsible for accidents. It dulls the reflexes too.

Alcohol molecules bind to certain receptor cells in the brain like glutamate and GABA, thus resulting in the improper functioning of nerve signals. This affects your ability for reasoning and logic.

Precautions for boaters

Boating is a challenge in itself as waters are an unfamiliar terrain and require a lot of practice and a great sense of judgment and balance. So if you are looking to party or going on a weekend getaway, then it is always advisable to not drive the boat yourself and hire a well-reputed boat driver.

Yet, if you insist on driving the boat yourself because it pumps your adrenaline, then either refrain from drinking or have a very limited quantity. And obviously, you must take all the gears with you.  

If you find the weather conditions getting harsh, then get inside into a cabin. Try to avoid being on the deck. Don’t venture out alone. Avoid late-night parties and wrap up by 10 pm. Always have a backup electricity source in case of power outages and a backup driver.

It is no fun being reckless and risking your life as well as the lives of your friends and family. So work hard and party harder, but not at the cost of safety.

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