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Tuesday
Apr122011

B.U.I. Boating Under the Influence

The open sea … sailing into the sunset … getting out on the water, means leaving all your worries on land and enjoying the day. Often times, we forget that there is such a thing as maritime law; created and enforced with safety in mind. And just like driving laws on land, there are boating laws on the water. “BUI” sounds a lot like “DUI” doesn’t it? That’s because it is!

BUI stands for Boating Under the Influence. BUI and DUI are a lot alike, they both prohibit operating a vehicle/vessel while drinking, they both have real consequences, and they both are enforced at a state level. However, the US Coast Guard makes an argument that proves that BUI can become more serious than DUI. Below are a list of issues associated with drinking and the unique consequences while boating:

Problem: Inner Ear Disturbance

Bigger Problem: If you fall into the water you may not know up from down

Problem: Illusion of Warmth

Bigger Problem: Hypothermia – with off shore winds and spray coldness comes quick, and if you’re intoxicated you may not even know it

Problem: Intoxication

Bigger Problem: It happens quicker on the water – dehydration, vibrations, and constant motion may put you in a state of inebriation quicker than on land

These problems and their consequences alone should be enough to deter anyone from sipping while sailing, but if it isn’t here are a few more facts from the Coast Guard:

“U.S. Coast Guard data shows that in boating deaths involving alcohol use, over half the victims capsized their boats and/or fell overboard”

“ […] a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration above .10 percent is estimated to be more than 10 times as likely to die in a boating accident than an operator with zero blood alcohol concentration.”

Keeping your sea legs straight

By now if your instinct isn’t telling you not to drink remember that not only is BUI enforced by state it is also enforced fedrally by the US Coast Guard. Thankfully the Coast Guard provides information on BUI and ways to avoid it.

For more information please visit:
http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/boating_under_the_influence_initiatives.aspx



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