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When you go out on your boat, safety trumps entertainment

When it comes to enjoying a day out on the lake or the ocean, it is very likely that the boater or boating group will bring some alcoholic beverages with them. not every boater or boating group does this -- but a large quantity of boat trips involve alcoholic beverages. Obviously, this can lead to some problems and complications.

Many agencies and local government are pressing on with bills that enhance the penalties for those who boat under the influence, or they are stepping up their enforcement in certain areas or during certain times to catch potentially intoxicated boaters. So what does this tell you about the current climate of boating and the responsibilities it entails? Well, what it should tell you is that you need to be safe and smart about how you are planning your day of boating.

Enjoying just one beverage out on the water can put you at risk for a BUI. So while you may want to enjoy that beer while you're fishing, it is certainly better for you to enjoying the fishing trip sober, and then to enjoy a beverage or two when you are back at the docks or at your home. You can still enjoy an alcoholic beverage and have your day out on the boat -- but it's just in your best interests to not do both at the same time.

And don't think that you can just "estimate" what your blood alcohol level is and then presume that you are safe based on this prediction. People are notoriously bad at predicting their own intoxication level. In fact, even cellphone apps that claim they can correctly measure your BAC aren't to be trusted.

Be safe and smart about your boat trips. That's the best way to not only protect yourselves and others, but also to better enjoy the trips too.

Source: USCG Boating, "BUI Initiatives," Accessed May 4, 2015

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